E T H O S Even for the most experienced growers, the wide variety of acronyms, abbreviations, and nomenclature within the cannabis genetics industry can be confusing because it lack specificity. It is not rare to see novice growers wondering what IBL, BX or S1 mean. While they may seem useless, these acronyms give plenty of information when we
E T H O S
Even for the most experienced growers, the wide variety of acronyms, abbreviations, and nomenclature within the cannabis genetics industry can be confusing because it lack specificity. The large spectrum of terms can be hard to parse and hard to keep up with, especially if you’re new to growing or getting back into it after an extended hiatus. Creating a consistent language is imperative for progress in any advancing field, especially genetics. ETHOS uses a specific nomenclature to reference all of our cultivars. For that reason, we’ve decided to clarify our terminology and nomenclature.
ETHOS was founded on the principle that the current landscape of genetics could be improved through standardization. For that reason, we have stuck to a very specific, consistent methodology for naming our genetics. Generally speaking, letters indicate the process by which the genetics were produced and the number indicates the generation and/or variance expressed by those genetics.
Here’s how ETHOS refers to its various offerings:
S1 – “Selfed” First Generation
An S1 is the result of a plant being crossed with itself, without any other plant being involved in the procreation. There are a variety of ways to induce this effect in a plant, but the general understanding is that any plant with an S1 label has only one female parent’s set of genes. The female parent pollinates herself or a clone of herself. This term is only used when a plant is crossed into herself. Any back cross or hybrid will have a different term. Often, the term “S1″ is misused in a broad stroke manner to describe any female seed which is incorrect. S1’s can only be those female seeds produced by a single parent.
F1 – Filial (Offspring) First Generation
By definition, an F1 is the result of the initial cross between two unrelated and stable cultivars. For example, Parent One (P1) and Parent Two (P2) could be crossed to result in Plant A, an F1 offspring. This is the first generation resulting from the cross of these cultivars.
BX1 – Back Cross First Generation
A back-crossed offering involves taking a filial and crossing it back into one of its original parents. Using our example from before, P1 crossed with P2 yields A, our F1. By crossing A with either P1 or P2, you produce a back-cross (P1A or P1B), either cross resulting in a first generation back-cross (BX1).
RBX (Reverse Back-cross)
A reverse back-cross is a back-cross that involves a female pollen donor.
F2, F3, F4, F5 and Successive Filial Generations
What’s the difference between an F2 and an F5? F2 is when two filial from an F1 are crossed with one another. The goal of this continued breeding within cultivars is to stabilize the expressions of the plants, narrowing the variances to a handful instead of hundreds. If you continue this process, the next round is F3 and so on. (two filial from an F2 are crossed, resulting in an F3). In modern cannabis, variety homogenization starts to set in by the F3 stage. F4, F5 and beyond will likely be the most stable expressions of that particular variance.
V1, V2, & V3 – Versions
A “V” indicates a slightly different version of an existing cultivar. As expressions stabilize and versions homogenize, different versions are identified by a V and their respective numeral. A plant with two distinctive versions would be labeled as a V1 or a V2. You typically won’t see a V1 as the first version of the cultivar is its first version, regardless of whether it is an R1 or F1. A V may be used to identify cultivars who have been bred with the goal of an existing cross but using different parents than the original version.
Mandarin Cookies R1 (V1) = Forum Cut Cookies x Mandarin Sunset
Mandarin Cookies V2 = ETHOS Cookies x Mandarin Sunset (Second Version of Mandarin Cookies)
>> Leaves a void with only the F1 system. And very rare to properly use the term F1 in modern cannabis
Difference of Opinion
Technically, an F1 is a cross of two unrelated parent cultivars. So, in theory, that would mean that each parent would have to be distinctly unrelated to one another, even in its traceable lineage. In classic genetic models, this would look something like Purple Basil x Green Basil. But, given the hybridization of the genetics industry, are there any true F1’s left in cannabis?
Genetic models for classification that exist in current academia are based on 2 qualifications:
• That the parents are unrelated
• That the parents are already stabilized.
This leaves a massive void of accuracy within the F1 system. Very rarely will you see brands and shops properly use the F1 term in modern cannabis.
Less than 5% of the parents used in seed-making are genetically stable, and more than 80% of dispensary cannabis has one parent with some genetic relation to the other, and in more than half of the cases, the parents share significant amounts of genetic relation. So, while we refer to crosses from two unique parents as an F1, can we even predicate our terms and nomenclature on a preexisting construct that fundamentally doesn’t apply to this specific space of cannabis breeding?
ETHOS will always be transparent with its labeling and lineage of its genetics. This is how we feel genetics should be labeled. Everyone in this industry has a different approach, and this is ours. If you agree and enjoy the consistency and transparency of our product offerings, we invite you to subscribe to our content and sign up for the only genetics membership you’ll ever need.
Basic nomenclature of cannabis genetics
Often, when it’s time to buy cannabis seeds, the beginner grower can quickly become confused by some of the acronyms that are written next to the name of the variety. Simply by learning some basic concepts you’ll be able to make the correct choice between seeds with the same name, but different acronym.
There is a big difference between acquiring a second filial generation (F2) or an IBL, even if we talk about seeds of the same variety. These differences will condition the growth pattern of the plants, and also the final product, so that it is almost essential to learn exactly what is the meaning of these acronyms to be more accurate in choosing which seeds to buy, saving ourselves deceptions and getting closer to our preferences.
Also known as landraces or purebreds, pure cannabis varieties have been the basis of cannabis breeding over the past decades. These species are endemic to a geographical area, where they have developed without having been crossed (hybridised) with other varieties. There are a large number of landraces from all around the planet, belonging to any of the three families of cannabis, C. sativa, C. indica and C. afghanica. Nepal is a good example; in this country different pure cannabis varieties (mostly narrow-leaved mixed use varieties) are grown and you can easily see the differences between genotypes based on the height above sea level at which they are cultivated.
Each variety expresses its genetic code (genotype) with a certain growth and flowering pattern (phenotype), so that pure varieties – with a purest genotype – show great uniformity, with just a few slight differences between phenotypes. We can expect very little variation between landrace specimens of the same variety, giving plants with very similar growth, organoleptic and psychoactive traits. Good examples of these varieties can be Hindu Kush (Sensi Seeds), Colombia Punto Rojo (Cannabiogen) or China Yunnan (Ace Seeds).
IBL or stabilized cannabis hybrids
The IBL acronym (in-bred line), means that the cross was made using plants with almost identical genotype (inbreeding). On the contray, outbreeding is employed to introduce new genes into the variety. Although it happens naturally, self-pollination is a common technique used by breeders to fix desirable traits and thus stabilise the genetic line, either with landraces or hybrids. In cannabis genetics IBL seeds should present a highly uniform growth. Classic IBL examples are Skunk and Northern Lights (Sensi Seeds) or White Widow (Greenhouse). There is a lot of work behind IBL’s like these, as a large population of pure specimens had to be used to select the correct parents. In addition, the breeder must fight against inbreeding depression, the result of crossing parents with very similar genetic information. The reward for this job made properly is a highly stable seed variety.
If we make a cross between two different landrace or IBL lines (parental A and B) with different genotypes, the resulting offspring will be the F1 hybrid, the first filial generation from the cross of the phenotype #1 (Parent A) with the phenotype #2 (Parent B). Commonly in this kind of crosses we will observe a very uniform offspring, depending on how stable the parents are, of course. The F1 hybrid between two pure varieties or IBL’s will show the so-called hybrid vigour – also known as heterosis or outbreeding enhancement – introducing new genes that will produce “better” specimens.
Varieties like Orient Express (Ace Seeds), Red Afro (Tropical Seeds) or Eddy from Original Delicatessen would be good examples of true F1 hybrid. Thus, we refer to the first filial generation of any cross as an F1, while the term “F1 hybrid” is used when the parents are different landrace or IBLs.
How to create a polyhybrid
When we cross two F1 individuals (whether landraces, hybrid or polyhybrid varieties), we obtain the second filial generation or F2, and so on with next generations, F3, F4, etc. The second filial generation often gives a more heterogeneous offspring than the F1; we can expect 25% to resemble parent A, 25% to resemble parent B and 50% will be a mixed expression of traits from both parents. As a consequence the stabilisation work must continue generation after generation ( F3, F4, F5…) until we find the generation that gives a uniform offspring with the traits that we are seeking.
Many of the seeds that we can find in shops are polyhybrids, crosses between different hybrids. The offspring of such crosses are in many cases quite unstable, producing plants with very different traits. Keep in mind that in these cases, the genetic mix is very varied, so we can not expect polyhybrid offspring to be as homogenous as an F1 hybrid. It’s easy to imagine how complex it can be to stabilise a cross, since we are mixing different genes from different varieties, which makes the selection and stabilisation process of the different traits a very hard work. The vast majority of hybrids on the market are in fact polyhybrids, like the White Russian (Serious Seeds) or Fruity Jack / Jack el Frutero (Philosopher Seeds).
BX or Backcross
Backcrossing is a common technique used by breeders to fix certain traits. This is done by crossing one of the progeny (F1, F2…) with one of the original parents (recurrent parent) which has the desired trait. To have an even more stable expression of the desirable trait, you can cross the BX1 again with the recurrent parent to have a BX2 (squaring) and so on with BX3 (cubing), BX4, BX5.
This technique is also used to replicate clones in seed form. It is done by choosing a male parent to cross with the clone only, backcrossing it as many times as needed to get an offspring as similar as possible to the original clone. The Apollo 13Bx (TGA Subcool) is an excellent example of this technique.
Tropimango by Philosopher Seeds
S1, feminised cannabis seeds
The acronym S1 refers to the first filial generation produced as a result of crossing the plant with itself. This is achieved by a range of techniques aimed at reversing the sex of the selected female plant, getting it to produce male pollen and using it to pollinate itself. If it’s done properly, we get feminised offspring with the same genotype of the parent used.
As always in genetics, the more stable the parent is, the more stable the offspring will be. This technique can also be used as a regular backcross, selecting and fixing traits but starting with just one parent. Thus, we can find S2 or S3 seeds, which have been backcrossed again with the original parent. Examples of S1 are Tropimango (Philosopher Seeds), S.A.D. (Sweet Seeds) or Trainweck (Greenhouse).
The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.