Dewey Scientific announces peer reviewed research identifying the first powdery mildew resistance gene in cannabis

Dewey Scientific announces peer reviewed research identifying the first powdery mildew resistance gene in cannabis

  • The gene, designated PM1, is the first pathogen resistance gene in cannabis to be formally characterized.
  • The newly published paper in Frontiers in Agronomy describes a promising first step toward reducing pesticide use on cannabis farms.
  • Powdery mildew is among the most widespread diseases of both hemp and marijuana, where infections impact yield, vigor, and flower quality.

Dewey Scientific, an agtech innovator pioneering solutions for a sustainable and thriving cannabis industry, announced today the online publication of new data describing the first experimentally validated disease resistance gene in cannabis. The abstract, titled “Discovery and Genetic Mapping of PM1, a Powdery Mildew Resistance Gene in Cannabis sativa L”, can be found in the special topic “Cannabis IPM – Insect Pests and Diseases” by Frontiers in Agronomy.

The goal of the research is to provide a foundation for the discovery and characterization of additional sources of genetic resistance to the various pathogens that infect C. sativa.

“This discovery and characterization of naturally occurring powdery mildew resistance breaks important new ground, helping to elevate our understanding of the cannabis crop to that of other economically vital agricultural commodities such as hops, berries, or grapevines,” said Dewey Scientific Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Jordan Zager. “The identification and characterization of PM1 is the first step in establishing the next generation of cannabis cultivars that are suited both for large scale production and optimal efficiency. At Dewey, we’ve already integrated this key resistance gene into over a dozen commercial-ready varieties through classic breeding techniques.”

Authors included Dewey Scientific Co-Founder Paul D. Mihalyov, PhD and Oregon CBD Director of Research & Development Andrea R. Garfinkel, PhD. Genotyping technologies were provided by Lighthouse Genomics and Génome Québec.

“Pest control strategies that require active management can be difficult to communicate and synchronize across vulnerable farms. Instead, using plant varieties with a naturally robust immune system can make a grower’s life much easier,” said Mihalyov. “Taking advantage of natural genetic resistance is also a more sustainable approach than the ‘spray and pray’ method.”

Powdery mildew is a common term for several plant pathogenic fungi, including fungi from the genus Golovinomyces, affecting both commercially cultivated hemp and marijuana. While resistant plants have occasionally been observed, this study is the first to verify and track its genetic heritability. In the open-access manuscript, the authors also developed a genetic marker to detect PM1 with a simple assay, allowing the trait to be introduced into any cultivar using classical breeding methods instead of transgenics or gene editing.


Dewey Scientific’s founding team also includes Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Lange, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on terpene biochemistry and natural product biosynthesis. Lange and Dewey Scientific’s CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Jordan Zager have further published research in several peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Plant Physiology.

Dewey Scientific also holds Dewey Cannabis, a direct-to-consumer small batch, high-quality adult-use cannabis supplier in Washington state, leveraging Dewey Scientific’s proprietary genetics.

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ABOUT DEWEY SCIENTIFIC: Founded in 2018, Dewey Scientific employs more than a dozen scientists and staff at its Pullman, WA agricultural research facility. In addition to providing scientific services to cannabis cultivators, Dewey Scientific produces proprietary cannabis genetics with evolutionary leaps in standardization, quality, and resiliency for cultivators. Dewey Scientific does not sell plant varieties with foreign DNA.