In the realm of cannabis biology and science, particularly in breeding practices, the term “dominant” refers to a genetic trait that is expressed in a plant’s phenotype even when only one copy of the gene responsible for the trait is present. This contrasts with a recessive trait, which requires two copies of the gene—one from each parent—for the characteristic to manifest in the offspring.

When discussing cannabis genetics, breeders are particularly interested in dominant traits as they are more reliably passed on to the next generation, making them crucial for developing new strains with desirable characteristics such as higher THC content, specific terpene profiles, disease resistance, or growth patterns.

Dominant Trait Expression

A dominant trait displays its effect in the hybrid offspring even if the gene comes from only one parent because it overshadows the corresponding gene from the other parent, which could represent a recessive trait. For example, if a cannabis plant with broad leaves (dominant) is crossed with a plant that has narrow leaves (recessive), the progeny will typically exhibit the broad leaf trait.

It is essential for cannabis breeders to understand which traits are dominant as this knowledge helps in predicting the outcome of crossbreeding and achieving consistent results in the cultivation of cannabis plants.

Impact of Dominance on Breeding

Dominance in cannabis breeding directly impacts the optimization of strains for medical and recreational purposes. Targeted breeding programs aim to create strains with dominantly inherited traits that align with market demand and the therapeutic needs of patients.

This could range from the pursuit of strains with greater potency or specific cannabinoid ratios to the development of varieties that thrive in particular climates. Understanding dominance is thus a cornerstone of cannabis breeding and genetics, enabling breeders to innovate and develop new strains with precise and favorable genetic attributes.