Glycine max, soybean (also soya- or soja bean, formerly classified as Glycine soja), is an annual herbaceous plant in the Fabaceae (legume or bean family) that originated in south-eastern Asia. Soybean was domesticated more than 3,000 years ago for its edible seeds. It is now the world’s most important legume crop, and the sixth largest of all cultivated crops in terms of total harvest size, and the most widely produced oilseed.
Because soybeans are grown around the world under many different climatic conditions and have been grown for many centuries, there is wide range of soybean varieties. Genetically modified (GM) soybeans varieties began to be commercially grown in 1996, and they quickly became predominant in the major soy producing countries.
With the dramatic increase in GM crops over the last decade, soybeans that have been bred traditionally and are non GM have become increasingly valuable for use in the European Union and other areas particularly sensitive to the use of genetic modification. Traditional varieties are also used in organic foods and other products for which the consumer expects a ‘natural’ product.
This has opened a large market for the sale of elite non GM soya bean varieties. AEC plan to generate a range of high yielding and salt tolerant varieties of non GM soya. Furthermore we can tailor varieties to suit different climatic conditions. We believe it is not unreasonable to expect to penetrate at least 3% of the market and much more in countries were GM is not popular.
World soybean production has increased by over 500 percent in the last 40 years, and it will continue to grow on strong demand for animal feed (especially in China, where the rapidly increasing standard of living allows the average consumer to eat more meat than ever before). Significant demand growth for biodiesel feedstock is also occurring; soybeans will continue to be one of the primary such feedstocks in the near term.
The two most common Cannabis species used in the medical marijuana industry, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica have very different active combinations of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
Cannabis sativa has a higher ratio of THC:CBD. This combination generally results in a stimulating effect feeling of wellbeing, it promotes creativity and generally increases focus, and it effects cerebral thoughts. It is used to treat mental and behavioural disorders such as depression and ADHD. It also stimulates hunger, therefore it can be used to treat patients with anorexia and some forms of cancer.
Cannabis indica on the other hand has a higher CBD:THC ratio and does not have the psychoactive high as sativa, instead has more of an anti-anxiety effect and has a much larger effect on the body. It reduces nausea, fights depression, relives headaches, relaxes muscles and generally relieves pain. Therefore it is used to treat chronic pain, muscle spasms, constant nausea. It is also used in patients with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia as well as sleep aid for people with insomnia.
Sativa Indica hybrids.
Cannabis has a diploid genome (2n = 20) with a karyotype composed of nine autosomes and a pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y). Female plants are homogametic (XX) and males heterogametic (XY) The estimated size of the haploid genome is 818 Mb for female plants and 843 Mb for male plants, owing to the larger size of the Y chromosome
Using next generation sequencing technology to develop genetic profiles, it is now possible to tailor plants with very specific THC/CBD combinations which would not be possible under normal breeding programs.
By using gas chromatography and developing genetic profiles, a large number of different strains of cannabis can be screened for desirable characteristics which can then be placed into a breeding program. Gas chromatography can be used to track cannabinoid content and concentration throughout the breeding program. Combined with developing genetic profiles including protein transcription levels of all know cannabinoids, a series of genetic markers for both species can be designed to pinpoint genes associated with certain cannabinoids or combinations of cannabinoids.
Using this approach, plants can be selected for cross breeding based on genes responsible for the up-regulation of cannabinoid pathways such as polyketide synthase, functional THCA synthase (THCAS) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) synthase, which form some of the major cannabinoid acids. Specific cannabinoids such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) can also be targeted, which possess diverse pharmacological activities.
The polyploidy process will significantly increase the THC/CBD concentrations within the selected plants. A tetraploid breeding program this will make it possible to develop completely new combinations of cannabinoids not possible under any diploid breeding program due to having double the chromosome number and twice as many alleles for any given trait. These new varieties may be of immense value due to their unique cannabinoid combinations and considerably higher levels of cannabinoids. Tetraploid varieties can be registered under the plant breeder act due to the increased genomic content or their unique cannabinoid combination. The increased number of chromosomes make it very difficult to cross breed with other strains of cannabis, therefore you can produce a very consistent product which is very important if we are looking to maintain certain THC:CBD combinations across the different lines of pants which in turn will be used to treat different aliments. Using this approach a much greater control of end product with increases to the THC/CBD content and/or develop new combinations of cannabinoids which may be better suited for the medical industry.
- Genetic profile
- Marker assisted breeding of selected lines.
- Selection of crosses with desirable cannabinoid combinations.
- Polyploid process of selected lines.
Tetraploid Breeding Overview
- Genetic profile
- Polyploid stage male and female 15 lines each.
- Marker assisted breeding of selected lines
- Selection of crosses with desirable cannabinoid combinations.
- Back crossing if needed (F2 generation)
- Final selection
Hemp is an agricultural crop of the 21st century. With a growing trend toward green agricultural practices and increasing environmental awareness, hemp proves to be a very environmentally friendly crop. And, as history shows, hemp has the potential to be extremely economically profitable.
Physiologically, hemp is a superior fibre for manufacturing paper due to its fibre length, low lignin content and high cellulose content. Hemps fibres are also excellent for making fabric. Fabric made out of hemp will outlast any fabric made from cotton. Hemp is also used to make building materials, biofuel and it produces one of the highest quantity protein power on the market.
Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides, this has obvious environmental and economic benefits. Hemps deep tap-root system improves soil structure as well. Hemp production figures are varied as they depend on many factors including climate and growing conditions.
Most import selection of the right strain to suit both climate and end product market. Hemp produces around 1200 pounds of seed per acre. When cold pressed, produces over 60 gallons of hemp oil and a by-product of high protein hemp flour.
These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently the most productive seed crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Hemp seed we produce as much, or more per acre with a considerable lower production cost. In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other by products and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.
Six to ten tons per acre of fiber. eg Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers. Hemp hurd fiber makes all grades of paper, composite building materials, animal bedding and a material for the absorption of liquids and oils. The residual flowers, after the seeds are extracted, produce valuable medicines.
A good hemp strain can produce high yields of fibre for production of fabric for the textile industry, but more importantly the fibre length and the cellulose lignin competition make it excellent for paper production. Adding to this it can be used in building materials and the seed is very high in protein and are in fact one of the highest.
In many countries the THC has to be below a set concentration level to be classed as industrial hemp and if the THC level raises above a set % level, the crop cannot be deemed industrial hemp and must be destroyed. High THC varieties do not have the same yield potential as a good industrial hemp variety. In fact it is considerably lower and by no means as hardy.
Cross contamination with High THC varieties and ever increasing THC levels over multiple generations are consistently a problem within the industry.
A good yielding hemp crop with low THC content with just the smallest bit of cross contamination from a none hemp variety (high THC marijuana variety) has the potential to destroy a crop/production in just a few seasons.
AEC can offer the following solutions to the problem. By changing the ploidy level within the plant, cross pollination with other varieties will be impossible. For example, hemp has diploid genome meaning it has two sets of chromosomes and it generally can only cross-pollinate with another hemp plant with the same number of chromosomes. By increasing the ploidy level to six sets of chromosomes or eight it will stop any chance of cross pollination. The increase in chromosome number will also give it a growth and yield advantage over its diploid cousin. These new varieties with have shorter rotation times of up to 20%. The other big advantage this gives to a production company or entity is that once AEC has developed the specific strains. Due to their increased genomic content they can be registered under the Plant breeder’s right act, giving 24 years protection resulting in the control of the specific species either for their own corporate use or to market the new varieties to others. These new varieties will have enhanced growth rates and can be tailed for a specific geographical area and conditions.
Polyploidy is a term used to describe cells and organisms containing more than two paired sets of chromosomes. Most plant, animal and fungi species are diploid, meaning they have two sets of chromosomes - one set inherited from each parent. However polyploidy is found naturally in some organisms and is especially common in plants. Polyploidy in plants result in faster growth rates, larger mature sizes, and increased yield of biomass, seed or fruit.
Polyploidy occurs spontaneously and relatively frequently in Nature in ferns and flowering plants and has been introduced into many food crops such as wheat and corn through successive cross-breeding over hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of years of wild-found polyploids Considering the significant benefits polyploidy provides in plants, there is global technical interest and commercial opportunity in finding an effective method for inducing this state within commercially valuable plants.
Terminalia ferdinandiana also called Kakadu plum or murunga is a medicinal plant native to a small region of tropical Australia. Kakadu plum is part of the family Combretaceae which are amongst the most widely used plants for traditional medicinal purposes in southern Africa and many parts of Asia. Many species of Terminalia are sort after for their antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antidiarrheal, analgesic, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. Kakadu Plum the highest levels of these attributes and has also proven to have inhibitory bioactivity against a panel of bacteria and fungi. Kakadu Plum extracts are nontoxic and has great potential for the medicinal industry.
Generally Kakadu Plum fruits are harvested for the medicinal extracts. Inconsistencies when obtaining stock or harvesting from the wild, makes it hard to attract big-end users such as pharmaceutical companies and there is no guarantee of supply.
AEC plan to develop a new generation of Kakadu Plum. Which will be faster growing, producing more fruit while containing the highest concentration of desirable secondary plant products. These new varieties will allow us in conjunction with our joint venture partner to produce the first commercial plantations of Kakadu Plum and to be the first to offer a stable supply of a quality product to the market.
As mentioned the varieties will have many growth advantages over there wild cousins including:
- Larger fruit/bunches
- More fruit sets per tree
- Higher levels of desirable secondary plant produces
- Faster growth rates short time to commercial harvest
How will this be done?
- David Boehme from Wild Harvest NT has the largest collection of growing germplasm of Kakadu Plum in the world which is a result of over fifteen years of selecting and growing. AEC has advanced capabilities in the field of molecular genetics and breeding. First using the latest technologies in the field of Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These machines combines the features of gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry into a powerful analytical tool which can identify different substances within a test sample.
This will allow us to screen and profile many hundreds of trees. Looking for plants that have high concentrations and the right combination of secondary plant products, trees that are fast growing and varieties which can be cloned or graft easy. A number of plants will be selected for sequencing using the latest next generation illumina platform the HiSeq 4000. The system provides unparalleled speed and performance in the world of genetic sequencing. (This project is only now possible due to the enormous leaps in mapping technology offered by the HiSeq4000).
This will enable us to locate the genes/promoters associated with each of these traits. From this a series of genetic markers will be produced. A breeding program will then be set up based on their genetic profile and a series of F1 and F2 generations will be created. These plants will then be screened using the GC-MS platform. The chosen plants will then be Polyploided making them tetra-ploids This natural process will further enhance their growth rates and secondary plant product production.
REDUCE WATER CONSUMPTION BY 30% - INCREASE ALMOND YEILD – FASTER MATURATION TIME
The California almond industry has doubled its acreage since 2005 due to its unique Mediterranean climate that is ideal for growing almonds.
Almonds give the farmer a much higher rate of return per acre than most other crops and represent a strong revenue generator for the state of California. Until recently California enjoyed ample water for its farming operations derived from rainfall, snowmelt and aquifers. During the last fifteen years California has endured eleven years of drought that has placed a tremendous strain on water resources. To deal with the decline in ground water supplies, farmers have been forced to drill deeper wells to access water. When drilling to such depths to access water, the odds of hitting brackish or high salinity water increases dramatically. This water needs to be purified or treated prior to being used on crops since the salt levels have a direct effect on orchard production. In the not too distant future, if soil salinity levels continue to increase the land may be rendered useless and unproductive. There is a need to develop a new species of almond trees, which have greater water efficiency, are disease resistant and will thrive in higher levels of salinity. Agro Epigenetics Corp (AEC) has been established to develop and deliver such tree species.
The state of California needs to conserve its water resources when choosing crops with the potential for high returns per acre and represent efficient use of the water resources. Almonds are a good example of a crop with both a high rate of return per acre and a low water use per kilogram (kg) of product. However, even at this rate of consumption, it takes one gallon of water to produce one almond. AEC expects to reduce water consumption by 30%, which would mean a saving of billions of gallons of water that could be used for other crops, or human consumption.
Agro Epigenetics Corp offers the Almond industry the development of new tetraploid tree stock with the following advantages:
1. Faster maturation time;
2. Greater yields per acre;
3. Increase in water efficiently; and
4. AEC can also develop clones to deal with high levels of salinity.