Many plants clone themselves naturally to reproduce. They send a small shoot-like structure called a runner, along the soil. The runner grows into a new separate plant, which is genetically identical to the original plant – a clone. People can clone plants by simply taking a cutting of the plant such as a twig or stem and planting it. This is called vegetative propagation. Horticulturists use cloning to grow plants with specific qualities, like height, flower colour and quality. They use a more complex method than vegetative propagation called tissue culture.
Tissue culture starts by using a small piece of the desired plant such as a bud, node, leaf segment or root segment. It is grown in a test tube on a culture medium that provides nutrients. It is then chemically treated to produce shoots. Buds from each of these shoots can then be separated to grow more shoots, and the shoots are then treated to grow roots so that they develop into whole plants. All the plants produced in this way are genetically identical because they have all come from the same plant initially and so share that plant’s genetic make up.
Wollemi Pine International Plant tissue culture in the classroom -work sheet Cloning plants: a case study There are a number of diseases that affect banana plants including Panama, Banana Bunchy Top Virus, Cucumber Mosaic Virus and Banana Streak Virus. Bananas are also attractive to nematodes (worms), which damage the fruit. Tissue culture is used to produce bananas that are free from disease. Some nurseries have a banana planting material scheme based on tissue cultureand are qualified as a QBAN – a Quality Banana Approved Nursery. The Quality in QBAN refers to disease freedom. Registered QBAN facilities must pass inspection and satisfy guidelines so that all plants are produced in a disease-free condition. Cloning
Page: Plants can make identical copies of themselves by asexual reproduction, for example by tubers and runners. Humans have been cloning plants for years and have recently started to develop techniques to clone animals. However, animal cloning raises ethical issues about how far humans should interfere in the production of new life. Cloning plants
Strawberry plant with runners – stems growing sideways Clones are genetically identical individuals. Some plants produce clones naturally byasexual reproduction. For example: * Spider plants grow new plants, calledplantlets, on their stems * Potato plants produce tubers (the part we eat), which can grow new roots and shoots * Strawberry plants grow stems calledrunners, which have plantlets on them Plant Cloning