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Abstract Detail

Functional Genetics/Genomics

Schilling, Susanne [1], Dowling, Caroline [1], Shi, Jiaqi [1], Trubanová, Nina [1], Kettle, Seán [1], Melzer, Rainer [1].

Sex determination and flowering time control in Cannabis sativa: a map to understanding gene regulatory circuits?

Few crops have seen such a rapid rise in popularity as hemp (Cannabis sativa). Hemp production was only legalized in recent years, yet it is already one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. This dynamic has also sparked new interest into the biology and genetics of Cannabis sativa. Particularly in Cannabis genomics massive advances have been made recently, with numerous Cannabis genomes now being publicly available. However, the experimental characterization of gene regulatory networks governing hemp growth and development is still in its infancy.
We employ morphological, molecular genetic and genomic tools to better understand the genetic basis of sex determination and flowering time control in hemp. Hemp is dioecious, i.e. produces male and female plants. Different cultivars show vastly different flowering times, which are further modulated by environmental cues. We have created a mapping population that allows us to simultaneously study sex determination and flowering time in hemp. Our analyses indicate that flowering time is controlled by multiple loci, but that a few large effect loci contribute significantly to flowering time differences between cultivars. Sex determination is based on an XY system, but autosomal loci also seem to play a prominent role in influencing the sex. Overall, sex determination is quantitative and also influenced by environmental conditions. Sex determination and flowering time are also intertwined, with male plants flowering earlier than female plants.
Taken together, the enormous morphological diversity of hemp is mirrored at the genomic level, with substantial genetic differences observed between different cultivars. This will facilitate the identification of genes involved in controlling developmental processes, which will further contribute to establishing hemp as a modern crop for a sustainable agriculture.

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1 - University College Dublin, School of Biology and Environmental Science, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
2 - University College Dublin, School of Biology and Environmental Science, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Crop breeding
flower development
flowering time
sex determination
gene regulatory network.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: FG, Functional Genetics and Genomics
Location: /
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 10:30 AM(EDT)
Number: FG003
Abstract ID:886
Candidate for Awards:Margaret Menzel Award

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