Dark Heart Announces World’s First Intrinsically Seedless Cannabis for Commercial Producers

PistilGuard seeds and clones aim to minimize the risk of accidental pollination and seed production.

January 31, 2022

OAKLAND, Calif. and HALF MOON BAY, Calif., Jan. 31, 2022 – PRESS RELEASE – Dark Heart Industries, a California cannabis genetics company, announced the world’s first seedless triploid cannabis for commercial growers. Dark Heart’s PistilGuard technology produces triploid cannabis seeds and clones that essentially cannot produce seed, even when directly exposed to pollen. This technology innovation means that triploid cannabis can be grown on the same scale as corn, wheat or industrial hemp.

“Our cannabis genetics using PistilGuard triploid technology are an industry first,” said Dan Grace, founder and CEO of Dark Heart Industries and Dark Heart Nursery. “The ability to grow THC-rich cannabis from sterile, triploid seeds and clones that are guaranteed to produce virtually seedless plants is a huge win for the cultivators we support. Pollen-proof cannabis, and the advantages it offers, will help move cannabis production from artisanal cultivation to large-scale agriculture.”

"The development of triploid seedless varieties has been a huge step forward in many commercial crops including watermelon, banana and apples,” said Ken Owens, Ph.D., vegetable breeder and former president of Magnum Seeds. “This trait's introduction in cannabis is a real breakthrough that will allow higher yields, reduced costs as well as improved aromatic and chemical qualities of the crop. All this leads to higher profitability and control of your crop.

Owens added, “Now that scientists at Dark Heart have developed the core technology, they'll be able to introduce new seedless, triploid-based strains and cultivars through traditional breeding that should bring cannabis production to a whole new level very soon.”

Cannabis Genetics 1970s – 2022

The presence of seeds in cannabis plants decreases the density of cannabinoids and terpenes, leading to low-THC production, loss of yield and diminished bag appeal. So, breeders have long sought ways to remove seeds from cannabis.

In the 1970s, cannabis farmers produced the first breakthrough in the campaign to produce seedless cannabis when they introduced Cannabis Sinsemilla—in Spanish “without seeds”—by physically isolating female plants from the presence of any pollen-producing males.

Further advances were made in the 1990s with the introduction of feminized cannabis seed, capable of producing overwhelmingly female plants. However, even plants grown from feminized seed were still susceptible to accidental pollination from within the greenhouse or from neighboring fields in outdoor grows. Feminized seed can also still produce phenotypically male plants, albeit in very small amounts.

Producing seedless cannabis plants effectively solves this problem. Triploid seed-based plants are practically incapable of setting seed, even when directly exposed to male pollen. Male plants in the same field, same greenhouse or neighboring field are not a problem for a triploid crop.

Availability

PistilGuard branded seeds and clones will be available exclusively to Dark Heart customers and partners this year through field trials, then will be generally available for sale to all California commercial growers in 2023.