Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Phytochrome B regulation of photoperiodic growth, flowering and cannabinoid production in medical cannabis (new proposal)
We intend to address two application-relevant questions. (1) Hemp is grown as high-density crop for harvest of long fibers from non-branched stalks; such conditions tend to shift phyB into inactive Pr form and to provoke shade-avoiding growth. Will the phyB mutant cannabis created through this project, when grown in the high-density field, further enhance growth with more stalk biomass while retaining same or even better quality of fiber? (2) Homologous expression of phyB GOF allele YHB alleles in transgenic Arabidopsis or rice paradoxically promotes flowering under non-inductive photoperiods (Hu et al., 2020). If this phenomenon is proven similar on medical cannabis plants, growers can significantly reduce cannabinoid production time by keeping plants under extended illumination hours for increased photosynthesis as well as accelerated budding. Under either scenario, extensive phenotyping or trait evaluation of genetically modified cannabis is required to understand the overall functions of phyB in cannabis development and growth.