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12.03.15

An Open Letter About GenKit

To explain GenKit without causing boredom is actually pretty simple: we’ve identified the presence of a short DNA sequence found only in the Y-chromosome (ie the male gene). By copying this genetic snapshot a few million times, Steep Hill scientists can determine whether a plant is male or female with 99.9% accuracy.


We stand poised on the plateau between mystery and truth. As scientists, we expect questions to breed questions, and we’ve witnessed how insight, inspiration, and intellect can expedite our ascent to the summit of understanding. Pretty impressive, right?

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GenKit identifies sex with 99.9% accuracy in days using a tiny piece of the first true leaf.

Well, we take our work more seriously than we take ourselves! We only hope to help all members of the cannabis community shine with science, and GenKit is our most recent light bulb. Back in the day (as in 2014), cultivators wasted months searching for males amongst their canopies; today, GenKit identifies sex with 99.9% accuracy in days using a tiny piece of the first true leaf. That’s what we call progress! And at Steep Hill, our scientists eat progress omelets for breakfast! They also get excited when someone actually asks them how the science works. To explain GenKit without causing boredom is actually pretty simple: we’ve identified the presence of a short DNA sequence found only in the Y-chromosome (ie the male gene). By copying this genetic snapshot a few million times, Steep Hill scientists can determine whether a plant is male or female with 99.9% accuracy. That isn’t to say that GenKit can tell us the entire genetic code of any plant.

We only hope to help all members of the cannabis community shine with science, and GenKit is our mos

To do that, we’d need a much larger amount of plant material (think grams). In fact, even through we’re inspecting cannabis genetics for sex indicators, hermaphroditic tendencies (aka a plant’s ability to grow both male and female parts) still remain a mystery without more research. Sure, we’re eager and excited about understanding the genome of the cannabis plant, but GenKit is just a small step up that steep hill. In the future, our lab hopes to help our community know everything about their favorite plant - but we aren’t quite there yet. We stand poised on the plateau between mystery and truth: every step forward requires focus, effort, and determination. We continue climbing toward the summit of understanding, and one day our community will have a great answer to every deep question. Right now, we’re just happy to have an accurate answer to the growers who ask: “Is it a boy?”