In reading our previous article, you now have an understanding of how tissue culture can save a sick plant. The next benefit of implementing these techniques will be a two part answer, as they go hand in hand with each other. These complimenting benefits would be for 1.’true to type’ cloning, and 2. multiplication, this technique is used to meet the requirements that commercial operations have for strains and genetics that are needed in large quantities.
‘True to type’ cloning
Over time plants that have been cloned traditionally, even plants free of a virus/pest/or disease, will begin to show signs of reduced vigor, and dudding (some call this “genetic drift”, when in reality this is a plant expressing poor genetic traits that were suppressed when the plant was in good health). This will bring down clonal success rate, creating more work, and ultimately decrease end product quality and yield thus, in turn, hurting your bottom line. This is really due to what’s called senescence (seh-NEH-sents). Senescence is the process of aging and degradation that all cells (animal & plant) go through. You can think of tissue culture acting as a ‘hard reset’ to plant cells to reintroduce the vigor it once had.
when plants are cultured they go through a multi-step process. keeping an explant (the plantlet in culture) in the multiplication stage will cause the plant to create multiple node sites that can be broken down into smaller singular nodes (think of the training process of topping) then kept in the multiplication stage to create more node sites until the amount of plants needed are reached. The great part of this process is that it occurs exponentially. For example, let’s say a single node may offshoot four new shoot sites. these can then be broken down into four new nodes that in turn shoot off four more nodes themselves, creating 16 new plants. I’m sure you quickly understand how a large amount of new plants can be created in a short amount of time that far exceeds traditional methods of cloning!
In our next article we will go over the next benefit of tissue culture techniques, genetic preservation through long, and short term storage.
see you there!