How to Pick a good Father for breedinng


Well-known member
Hi MNS, I was wondering what were desirable traits in looking for a father. I understand this is question that could be answered in different ways depending on the needs and desire of the breeder but in general I guess im wondering if certain traits or genes are predominantly passed on from one parent. Like height, flowering time, potency ,scent, flavor etc. I have a "Small" understanding of genetics about recessive and dominant, homozygous and heterozygous and was curious on how to select a father. Any input would be great much respect to all the growers in this community. If Shanti or Nevil were able to teach some knowledge that would be beyond awesome. Thanks


Well-known member
A post from shanti..
The importance of selecting plants for the traits that are useful to the breeder/grower is the main reason genetics have evolved as they have. Male plants of this species need to be carefully selected to avoid a lot of laborious work, which means one will need to do a lot of testing of F1 seed made from a particular male to verify if the sex linked traits are real or not. Males that auto flower irrespective of daylight hours are normally eliminated to insure against hermaphroditism or unwanted male traits. Males that flower too quickly or too tall are also not the best for breeding since they put too much energy into fiber production which is not the trait one is looking for in a medicinal plant. Males that have large hollow main stems are sought out rather than males that are more pith-filled stems - the main reason are that large hollow stemmed males are better THC producers than other plants. Males that produce tight floral clusters rather than airy sparse floral clusters are usually better to breed with. Finally if you rub your fingers against the stem of a developing male and are able to get strong odors or aromas (terpines) you will be advised to use these males as trichrome production and flavor are directly related to plants that produce odors early on. There are several other traits to look for in a male but these are rather advanced and need microscope help which is not really relevant for the hobby grower/breeder.


This is a huge topic with no definitive answers.

That little quote that Growstone posted is pretty much still the height of science regarding selecting males to this day and age. Little as it may seem...

You really never know until you made seeds with it, grew it out and then selected from that round.
Some say you even need to cross that selected female back to the original make and grow out those seeds again and make a selection to get a definitive answer on whether or not your selected original male is truly a "stud" or not.

I have looked into the topic quite a bit and to my surprise, an actually valid approach to the whole issue seems to be to look for "weak" males.
The idea being that they will be recessive in most every aspect and allow all the traits of the selected female to show through without taking anything away from them.

I believe the best marker for selecting a male is the stem rub. I have heard time and again that you will know your male when you see it and I believe this refers a lot to stem rubbing and getting strong and pronounced aromas. Much stronger than from all other subjects.

I have not discovered such a male yet.

Aside from the stem rub and hollow stem thing, you can really only look at the overall structure of the plant, how it grew, how it reacted to stress etc. etc.

But this could lead you down a path of undesired characteristics just as fast as it could lead you to desired ones. Maybe the vigor and great branching etc. etc. results in more hemp like offspring with less desirable drug cannabis traits.

Selecting for late flowering males also seems to be a good idea or at least one of the better ones possible.


Well-known member
Others may disagree, but I think it's valid to select males based on structure. I intend to run a pack of Afghan Haze next year to look for hazy plants, so it seems logical to select haze-leaning plants and cull indica types based on structure, at least to thin out the herd so that only a few make it into the flower tent. Of course I'm going to throw out some good potential plants because a haze high can come from an Indica looking plant, but in general the sativa looking plants are most likely to give sativa effects.

You can also do a quick dry and smoke test of the male flowers after they have opened, shed their pollen, and dropped off the plant. I was pleasantly surprised last night to do this smoke test on the haze-leaning Angel's Breathe male I selected and found a single hit cut right through the chem-ish weed I had been smoking. Of course, the only meaningful test is to grow out the seeds and test the progeny.


Well-known member
Branching structure I agree with. Culling things you deem Indica or sativa before they finish is a good way to throw out good candidates in my OPINION. Especially leaf morphology. Nothing gets covered up faster than sativa leaf traits IMO/E


It's not necessarily disagreeing Marcus it is more that the results are inconclusive.

There is generally close to 0 information on males that people have selected and the progeny they grew out of those seeds and even less if you take it further (next generation tested etc.).

I believe what happens when people attempt to go this route is either a) they find that what they grew out after making the seeds is not as good as what they grew from the original seeds so the male is likely a dud and no good (or they simply needed to grow more than 12 plants of the progeny and didn't find the good pheno) or b) they are completely surprised by how much better the progeny is than the original seeds they came from.

In case a) happens, the reports usually just fall asleep, die down and maybe get picked up 5 years later to ask "did this ever go anywhere?" with the answer always being no.
If b) happens, I assume people immediately think they have a stud and sit on really valuable genetics. I assume they start to guard their knowledge and stop sharing their results because now they are in a position where they could probably start their own seedbank/seedlabel. And many do. I believe a whooooole bunch of the lesser known, shitty, pollen chucking breeders have started like this.
Although these days, these "breeders" often don't even need the one male as they simply work with hermies to make things even easier.

So to come back to the structure/vigor/optical markers as selection criteria:
I have not been able to find a conclusive answer whether or not this results in desirable characteristics in the offspring.
All I found was a call to caution by experienced breeders when selecting males "solely" for their vigor/structure and other optical impressions.
Because the result COULD be that the characteristics passed on to the offspring result in more hemp like cannabis as plants that put a lot of energy into structure/vigor etc. CAN lack that energy in bud/resin production.
But again: this is inconclusive. I am 100% certain that structure etc. played a part in selections done in the past and just looking at the CM I have going at the moment, makes it obvious that these plants were also selected for their structure. Unlike OG Kush for example, where people apparently ignored structure all together, otherwise they wouldn't be such viney plants that have to be supported massively.

The point is, it is all shooting in the dark and anecdotal. Personal preference etc. etc.
Because say Marcus selects a male with one of the main criteria being vigor/structure/"the look" while I maybe select based on stem rub/smell test as the main criteria.

Let's say Marcus ends up with a male that looks picture perfect, grows so fast, takes all the abuse and would obviously yield extremely well as a result, if it was female. It does however smell very weak, has no hollow stem and already shows pre-flowers in veg.
And let's say I find a male that looks all spindly, shitty structure, very big spacing between nodes, no bushiness, reacts poorly to topping, etc. but the stem rub gives me an insanely strong aroma, the stem is hollow and there are no pre-flowers in veg.

Then we both cross our male to our selected female(s), make seeds, grow those out.

Based on our selection criteria, one might assume that Marcus would find very heavy producers an all the great looking plants in the world and I might find a bunch of runty looking stuff that smells and tastes insane and hits hard.

But it could just as well turn out that Marcus finds all the heavy hitters with the great smells but are more spindly/worse structure and I am left with a bunch of plants that have a better structure than their parents but are less flavorful/terpy and have weaker potency.

We simply can't say and simply don't know.

All we can really do is make use of the little information and experience out there and use it to, presumably, skew the odds in our favor. But we might do just the opposite, unknowingly, and throw out the good stuff because we believed it wasn't all that, based on the little info and experiences by others we found.

In the end, it is my believe that the topic of males will remain a huge mystery for many more years until this thing has gone so wide that actual, scientifically sound data and selection criteria emerge.

Until then, I like to say that the best way to select a male is to consider the few known criteria for selection (as passed on by people like Shanti) but to not make them the deciding factor.
The deciding factor, imho, should be your gut feeling as a grower/breeder.

Let the force guide you :)

Ridiculous as this seems, I think at the point we are at right now, it is likely the best one can do.

Broseidon out
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Well-known member
thanks for the input all. I have 3pks that i got from the auction. Mango Haze, NHS, and Critical Haze. Im hoping to find a nice haze dom male to start breeding with. Does anyone have any experience with the 3 strains i mentioned?


Mango Haze is goooood shiet.

I only grew out 2 females so far and was a bit disappointed but I had so many issues that round, everything but the one Ortega female was not impressive to me (including Karma and Ace gear).

So I believe that was due to my environment more than anything and will definitely run those seeds asap.


Well-known member
I haven't seen a bad plant out of I think 5 mango haze females. They also seem to be about 80% female. Not just my experience either.

I only ran one critical haze. I wasn't impressed but a friend picked up the clones, so maybe I am hard to please.

I haven't run NHS.

Good luck. :)


I never grew male (yet) but I can tell, male or female, you have to flower it. The NHS beast I had used to show some fat indica leaves in grow, to finally ended up being extremely hazy (more than 110days of flowering).

Key is selection, time, lot of work, and luck ;).


Well-known member
Hey all. Some great info being shared. The stem rub tech is a good one, kind of scratch and sniff.
Observation of the male plants is key, and most importantly, progeny testing to see what traits the male pass over is vital for selection of the best possible male. Generally the first males to flower are avoided by most breeders, unless early flowering is desired. As with females, study the flowering clusters, tight heavy clusters are what you are looking for, also resin production. Most growers don't realise that males do produce visable trichomes later in flowering, some can be surprisingly resinous. Getting yourself a 30x loup will help you identify resins and give you a closer look at the forming flowers. Once you have identified males that maybe useful observe them over time , the stem rub is an excellent tool. Testing males this way over time will show you the consistancy of the male. Many different odours are considered desirable, while others not so much. Sweet fruity smells are considered desirable, while the greener grassy smelling, or woody smelling types are really not desirable. Fuelly smelling odours are considered by some as undesirable, while others seek this. The latest flowering males are also considered undesirable by many breeders, but this is debatable. In the end progeny testing is key, and give you the information you are looking for, showing you the traits passed from the male. Many breeders have a select female for testing there males. A pure stable inbred line is best, as the outcome once the female is understood is predictable, and will show you the traits passed over from the male. Delving deeper into the f2 and further will help you identify reccesive and dominant traits. The punnet method of 25% will help show you reccesive traits. It really takes time to proply i.d desirable males. Many unwanted traits can surface during the breeding process. The f1 is very predictable once the male is understood. If your plan is to create f1's only, your job will be much easier. If you plan to create ibls male selection becomes more difficult. But as mentioned, progeny testing is the only answer at identifying the most desirable males.. The world of genetics is amazing! If you are serious about breeding and understanding genetics RC Clarke's marijuana botany is a must read. Anyway, hope that helps. Take care all , Sensient


New member
Some fantastic info and ideas in this thread.

I have a few questions and thoughts on males myself.
How long can pollen stay viable? Does it lose its potency over time?
I believe there is alot of potential held in the males but as we all focus on females performance and as discussed there are no set parameters for choosing a breeding male as stated it comes down to offspring performance.

I come from a background of breeding performance animals and have done so for the majority of my life smfist breeding racing pigeons at age 10.
I still do but also breed performance dogs.
A few things I have learnt through the years of breeding animals and a quote from an old timer always stuck with me and that's "they don't always breed true"
Meaning you can breed the best male who has won a ton of races to the best female who also has the same achievements and end up with all dud offspring, and on the other side breed two duds and get a litter of exceptional animals.
Hybrid vigour is a big factor and when breeding two separate inbred families of the same breed produces outstanding offspring more often than not. So say i have a strain that puts out consistently 17% thc and i breed with hypothetical stud male and resulting offspring test at 28% thc i have a good guide to go off in regards to what the male can add to the program.

Now with animals once a Stud puts out winners the options for higher quality females is always the next se
So what I'm thinking is why don't we have a community Stud book similar to animals - keep pedigrees of breedings and when great results arise that male is available for breeding. ie. Sending out frozen or chilled pollen the same as we send frozen semen from winning dogs.

Say Shanti has Haze male A and he breeds allows a few companies etc to breed to it and they in turn win cups with the offspring (publically noting parentage)- points get added to shantis male and obviously more crosses and exploration etc.
If offspring from different crosses win more cups. More pints get added until say 6points then they get elevated to a register of merit male.
As the world of legalization is becoming more and more of s reality in many countries and with the added competitions etc as well as medically i think now more than ever is pertinent to keep true pedigrees and award those who continually produce winners and performers.

Thoughts guys?


I think what you propose is a large step forward in the right direction and how the future of this will shape out in the end.

But I am afraid, not yet.

See there were a few "in the game" who sent out pollen from their "winning males". I believe I even saw mention of this practice on this very forum and believe MRN once made such pollen available to its members for a brief period of time. But it didn't last. It can be speculated for what reason but that is neither here nor there.

What is evident though is that the cannabis economy/sector/community as a whole is not ready or willing to go down that path, as of now.

Until now, it is my impression that "winning males" have been the equivalent of the coca cola recipe in the cannabis community. They are basically regarded as company secrets and very, very few ever felt confident and secure enough to openly share these genetics for seed production/hybridization purposes.

Until feminized seeds came along, I would argue that males were THE way of protecting "your intellectual property" in terms of your selected genetics.
Finding a winning male is the hardest part of cannabis cultivation, bar none. As the only way to successfully prove a male to be a winner is through growing out several generations of progeny and categorizing/analyzing it diligently.

Imagine this whole process pre laboratories for testing and you get a picture of how hard it was for your average grower to successfully identify a winning male. It was nearly impossible on any relevant scale. Very few ever had the opportunity to do so reliably until very recently.

If a grower was ready and willing to dedicate his limited grow space to hunting a winning male (which was rare to begin with), then the population was very limited and not very representative (choosing from 10 to 20 males IF at all). And then the progeny testing... How to test without labs... All anecdotal/subjective and not very conclusive or representative. It was very far away from "science". Too many X factors...

Now we have labs and more and more people get the opportunities that only the few people like Shanti ever had in the past. Selecting from larger, representative sample sizes. Actually having the time and space to properly grow out, catalogue and analyze progeny through laboratory testing.

But we are just getting there and this is not widely available to most, still. In the meantime you can just look at all the hack "breeders" and their untested F2s that have been and continue to flood the market, hoping for a dunce to spend 10 bucks on such a seed and apparently making a good living with this strategy. This is the current state of affairs, still.

I believe that once a critical mass of people has access to testing laboratories as well as the opportunity to grow out larger sample sizes over longer periods of time with reliable methods of cataloguing and testing, we will see things develop in the direction you mentioned.
Unless the market has been overtaken by feminized auto seeds by then (which I sincerely hope won't happen).

Once we have this environment, the logical next step will be to catalogue and rank/rate winning males, the same way we are already doing it with "elite clone females".

Just as you described, clones or pollen directly will be passed around/made available and rated by more people until the community as a whole lands on a couple of males that are regarded as most desirable until the next one comes along (as with the elite clones, where it was OG this and that for a while along with the odd Sour Diesel, then GSC, then Gorilla Glue and I believe currently it's Bruce Banner or something, or still Glue, whatever).

I believe eventually we will look the same way at males.

But that is all provided that the "hobby breeding segment" in cannabis will continue to exist or eventually exist in a form comparable to hobby dog breeders etc.

Can't even guarantee that.

You can watch and see what is going on in Canada and the US and how these markets develop/evolve.

At the moment we are in many places at a point of oversaturation of the market and as a result massive price dips to a point where dried flowers can already be regarded as any other commodity over there. As a result you now have the "craft cannabis" niche market popping up here and there along with the shift towards extracts and edibles etc. until these market niches have found their equilibrium as well.

When that happened, maybe we will see the emergence of hobby breeders as a next phase. Or maybe we will see the decline and disappearance of hobby breeders because they are satisfied with both price and product that the craft cannabis niche is churning out while everybody else just wants to get high for cheap and is satisfied with the mediocre, mass produced products currently filling all the shelves everywhere.

Impossible to tell. It's a development we will have to observe.

As it stands I would say it is never too early to discuss these things or think about them but the way I see things, I would say we are a good 10 years away from your vision becoming true.

But sometimes things move hella fast.

I know if I get my farm up and running and start breeding myself, I would (the way I currently look at things) likely have no issues with sharing pollen and would love the feedback by others to confirm if my selected males are actually "that good" or duds after all. To me that would just move the cannabis community forward as a whole, much faster.
Conversely, what would I gain by holding my males/their pollen under lock?

I guess if I came up with the next OG Kush or Sour Diesel, I could maybe get a few years of higher earnings out of it that way.
If I am struggling financially, I might actually consider this. But as long as I am doing well, I would rather advance cannabis and its community as much as I can because I love the plant and I love people so why stifle their growth for my personal gain (which could be miniscule).

Aw damn, what a rant. I am going to stop now ;)
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New member
Fantastic well thought out reply, that's why I thoroughly enjoy this site - I am glad you can see my vision and think it's a step forward ijn the right direction - I completely understand and agree with your points on companies wanting to keep certain recipes a secret but the flip side of that is if they were open and honest in regards to the male he may then be bred worldwide and advance that companies reputation further as a producer and owner of one of the winningest male genetics worldwide.
As this industry grows as we have seen with the USA as soon as legalization became a reality the cannabis cups were held for medical and recreational cups in different locales which increases competition and as you rightly state as labs become more and more available to the layman breeding and human nature of wanting to improve evolve and also the natural competitive side could bring the best out of all of us ( as we have seen with some cultivars like the banner etc reaching astronomical levels in the labs) this can only be a good thing.
I think secret recipes are a thing of the past when there were mainly Dutch seed co.s holding all the cards at the table so to speak so competition for that marketplace was fierce (as it still is but the paradigm has changed somewhat)

I hope as you put it for the good of the community people will take this idea on board and hopefully it can evolve into something in line with elite dog breeding, where all have access to lineage and genetics if they have the contacts finance etc.
There could be stud males for THC & CBD
& this can only further everyone's programs.

As for the reality of over production and flooding the market with mediocre products i think in time that will reign in somewhat as demand for quality in these craft markets make mass producers step up there game also.
I would hate to think there would be no hobby breeders as thats where everyone begins! Tinkering away with you plants playing mad scientist - and i think its so therapeutic to be amongst plants, grow them, have your hands in the dirt and see them finish, a sense of achievement etc , there's alot of self beneficial value there. ✌


The problem is that it is currently going in the other direction.

Think more like big pharma etc. have everything patented and their name slapped on it with teams of lawyers ensuring nobody uses "their" stuff in the "wrong" way or makes a dime on that medicine without them seeing their "fair" share in the process.

I know that Subcool for example has found a way (and regards it as some form of evolution of the game or whatever) where he is trademarking his strains and basically selling licenses to growers/farms/producers, allowing them to grow his genetics for a period of time.

The basis of this procedure is him submitting his males to the phylos galaxy, having them lab tested and apparently this is enough for lawyers to enforce his "copyrights" or whatever. Meaning if someone who doesn't have the license from Subcool grows "his" stuff, they would test it and through the trademarked males figure out if it is indeed progeny of said males and then I assume start legal proceedings to get compensation.

Now mind you this is all second and third hand information I am processing and concluding in my head so I might have gotten various things wrong.

But the general line of thinking these folks are taking currently in the US, is at least close to what I described above.

So the polar opposite direction of what you suggested.

The end result could be the opposite of what we have with dog breeders and more in line of what we have with Big Pharma and Big Agriculture:
Basically you either pay the patent holders for a license to grow certain stuff or you are facing legal issues etc.
The only other alternative then would be "generica" as with Big Pharma or going "rogue" as with agriculture and grow other stuff that you then can't sell in the same market places as Big Agriculture (supermarkets etc.) because they have a heavy hold on these market places and through decades of marketing etc. and lots of $$$ spent, nobody will buy the purple carrots you are growing and only buy the perfectly shaped, albeit tasteless, orange carrots that we all know and love. So you are relegated to farmers markets and certain organic/bio outlets and can't take a bite out of their market share. Catch my drift?

But my hope is still that these "big entities" are both misunderstanding and miscalculating the cannabis industry/community as a whole and that it will indeed go the way of animal breeding etc. where a healthy niche of hobby breeders exists and there is high demand for both their expertise and product which the "big entities" won't be able to eliminate.

Time will tell
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New member
thanks for the input all. I have 3pks that i got from the auction. Mango Haze, NHS, and Critical Haze. Im hoping to find a nice haze dom male to start breeding with. Does anyone have any experience with the 3 strains i mentioned?

It seems your looking for a haze dom male to put to some unrelated plants?

If that's the case I'd do just that, find the most haze dom male that checks all or most of the boxes when picking one ie height, flowering time, hermaphrodism, morphology, ect. And get to it lol

Keep a cutting of him going and don't make too many seeds at first, and give those seeds a whirl and see what u get. Haze is a good place to look as they are sire lines here and go well with just about anything unrelated and indica dom. Ie you get all that vigour from things that are far removed.

Hope that helps, it's best to dive in and start getting experience, it will put all that you've read into perspective. It's addictive though I must warn!!!


New member
The problem is that it is currently going in the other direction.

Think more like big pharma etc. have everything patented and their name slapped on it with teams of lawyers ensuring nobody uses "their" stuff in the "wrong" way or makes a dime on that medicine without them seeing their "fair" share in the process.

I know that Subcool for example has found a way (and regards it as some form of evolution of the game or whatever) where he is trademarking his strains and basically selling licenses to growers/farms/producers, allowing them to grow his genetics for a period of time.

The basis of this procedure is him submitting his males to the phylos galaxy, having them lab tested and apparently this is enough for lawyers to enforce his "copyrights" or whatever. Meaning if someone who doesn't have the license from Subcool grows "his" stuff, they would test it and through the trademarked males figure out if it is indeed progeny of said males and then I assume start legal proceedings to get compensation

Whilst this might deter some, this is no protection at all. Firstly, those males are poly-hybrids, related to multiple other lines not 'created' from foundation lines but (selected) by Sub, from other PD plants, including skunk, as well as not even being stable (Vortex has heritage similar to varieties in Skunk, with a smaller component of genetic variation similar to varieties in Landrace, Hemp, CBD - point being what if those breeders follow this same path? Most of the regular seed industry relies upon Plant Breeders Rights and certified seed. What would happen if someone with the needed licenses, a correctly registered plant breeding company certifies this seed having stabilized it?

There is nothing to figure out, they would be able to claim the hybrid you suggest was created by another plant related, using the same phylos galaxy data as a reference, they can also re-create that plant, as now the genome mapping has been done. Sub does not have the foundation stock to prove otherwise, (selections, from PD stock, not creations) those males are basically public domain.

While you can Trademark the name, that really does not matter much now, with naming conventions having been thrown to the wind since the advent of a thousand 'plant breeders' renaming everything, very few of whom are registered plant breeders.

To get certified seed, you need to create stable lines with all plants being the same. When those companies do that, use a different name, etc, then it is those downstream that are using the same genetics that have the problem, regardless of Trademarks on names. That is the basis of how Monsanto fought Corn farmers. Even if cross-pollination occurred, you have their Plant Breeders Rights and Certified seed, registered and protected genes in your plant. Game over, you can see for yourself how many court cases Monsanto lost. Very few, to none.

Furthermore, Phylos is a private company, with big backing, but what happens if the company and database is sold to big-pharma? Mowgli strikes me as being of high morals, but, business is business.

The only other alternative then would be "generica" as with Big Pharma or going "rogue" as with agriculture and grow other stuff that you then can't sell in the same market places as Big Agriculture (supermarkets etc.)

Generica equals PBR and certified seed, so that is very likely to be the case. Monsanto-Bayer, GWP, look at their corporate messages carefully - they openly declare that their business is about ''creating barriers to entry'' these are existing cannabis industry players. Not some far off dark future, they are here, right now building those barriers. They own all of SamS's work for example. Hypothetically, think through what would happen to that Galaxy map if Skunk was certified seed and PBR protected genes. GWP can do that, they have stable seed methodology. This is the 'industry' as of today. Not tomorrow. Big ag is here, the biggest and GWP already cultivate Skunk 1 (as i understand it) now we have a genome map giving them all the data they need to enforce their rights should they go there.

Shanti called this out many years ago, attempting also to bring the 'breeders' together to address these issues, could be ten years ago now.

Vlad the Inhaler

Active member
To get certified seed, you need to create stable lines with all plants being the same..
Yes if cannabis was wheat. Hops is grown from cuttings, either because of variation or inbreeding depression using seed stock. Majority of cannabis breeding industry is based on elite individual plants, many being f1. Shanti grows whole hillsides of plants, with thousands of the same plant, cloned.
I wouldn't sweat big business plans. Best stuff ever came out of the down low. The moonshine still flows in the darkness.


Thing is, as things currently are, they cannot enforce their trademarks and gene marker patents etc. etc. because cannabis is generations removed from being as uniform as corn, tomatoes, etc.

A direct result of the grey-market thing was that the plant never got genetically bottlenecked anywhere near to the extend other plants have.

But I bet my left nut that they are working on bottlenecking cannabis as we speak to be able to do exactly that.

Until then, I agree, you can't just trademark skunk genetic markers because it will be obvious to anyone, even without lab-testing, that there are just way too many varieties within the Skunk line and even though a cultivar might exhibit certain genetic markers that would allow a court to enforce copyrights, the skunk might look, taste and smell completely different from the ones that were "patented". It might also have completely different concentrations of active compounds.

But once you bottleneck it so that all skunk seeds on the market produce a certain small number of phenos, it's a different ballgame.

I bet they are working on bottlenecking hard right now, just so they can patent things and enforce these patents and shape the market the way they see fit.