Albert Teen
powered by
Albert logo


Stem Cells for Plant Cloning

Stem Cells for Plant Cloning

Stem Cells for Plant Cloning

Stem cells from plants can be cloned to produce identical plants for desirable features.

Stem cells are found in adult animals in different tissues of the body. This is because many parts of an animal's body can grow. A plant, however, can only grow from a few places: the tips of the shoots, roots and buds.

The growing points of plants have to be able to make different tissue cell types. What sort of cells does that mean must be present in these growing points?

The growing points in a plant are known as meristems. The cells here can differentiate to form all the cell types found within the plant. This is similar to which type of stem cells in animals?

The meristem cells retain the ability to divide and differentiate to form a whole new plant from just a few cells. We can use these to make an exact copy of a plant.

What do we call an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another organism?


Plant cloning is also known as "tissue culturing". From which structure of the plant do you think we take the cutting to clone a plant following this process?

A) The stem B) The root C) The stem meristems D) Any section of the plant


The meristem is divided into small collections of cells.

These are known as explants.


The explants are placed on nutrient gel and provided with water and light.

They grown into small plantlets (they look like seedlings). The plantlets are then transplanted to soil.

The plants that grow from these plantlets are...

Cloning plants is inexpensive and quick!


This is an economic method for reproducing large numbers of food plants (crops), but there are other reasons why farmers prefer plant cloning to growing plants from seeds as well. Which, do you think?

You can select multiple answers

Cloning can also be used for conservation of rare species of plants. Large numbers of the rare plant can be produced and returned to the wild to help sustain a declining population.

Cloning does have drawbacks for the population of rare plants, though. Although it allows lots of individuals to be reproduced, they are all exactly the same. Why might this be a problem?

For a species to survive it must be able to adapt to changes in its environment, such as a hotter dryer climate. This requires genetic variation in the population. If a population of rare plants is protected by cloning, there will be less variation, and so the species will be less able to adapt to changes in the environment.