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Fast-Track Breeding of Powdery Mildew-Resistant Cannabis

Status: 
Active
Competition: 
Genomic Applications Partnership Program
GAPP Round: 
18
Sector: 
Agriculture and Agri Food
Genome Centre(s):
Genome British Columbia
Project Leader(s):
Marco Todesco (University of British Columbia), Loren Rieseberg (University of British Columbia)
Receptor Leader(s):
Greg Baute (Aurora Cannabis)
GE3LS: 
No
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
2020-2021
Project Description: 

Cannabis is projected to become one of the largest crops in Canada over the next decade.  However, current cannabis cultivars lack many desirable agronomic traits, including resistance to powdery mildew infection, and are poorly suited to the large-scale production needed to satisfy this growing market.  A genomic resource will be created that will allow the project team to assess the levels of susceptibility and resistance to powdery mildew within the cannabis germplasm and begin to introduce powdery mildew resistance into Aurora’s breeding program.  The improved cannabis cultivars will result in reduced losses to pathogen contamination and increase product quality.  The breeding pipeline itself will also be used in the future to identify other important production and higher-value traits and introduce them into cannabis cultivars with superior agronomic performance, allowing Aurora to not only grow it’s revenues beyond $1B, but also to produce a secure supply of medical cannabis for Canadians.