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Alisha Holloway

Chief Scientific Officer, Phylos Bioscience, Portland, Oregon, USA

Serendipitous career moment?

Very early on in our breeding program, we were doing a hemp field trial and noticed that one of our populations had roughly 25% of plants that were flowering really early - before the light cycle would trigger flowering in most cannabis and hemp. We jumped on the chance to find genetic markers for autoflower that could be used in our breeding program. We genotyped them and found a very strong association between a set of SNPs and the autoflower traits. We were already on the path to breed autoflower F1 hybrid seeds because it is an excellent trait for being able to grow in many different environments and is a more sustainable option since light deprivation and supplemental light are not necessary. With other crosses we started in those early days, we were able to validate the findings two cycles later. Those genetic markers have been instrumental in our ability to move quickly in developing several new autoflower F1 hybrid seed lines that are on the market now and additional seed lines in the near future.


I have a strong belief that the industry will move to seed-grown plants for production. Growing from seeds is more cost-effective because all the space and time used to keep moms and make clones can be put into production. Growing from seed also reduces the risk of pests and pathogens because you start fresh each cycle and don't have to continue to propagate the same plants for years or decades.

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