The production of new plants from a small piece of plant tissue or cells removed from the growing tips of a plant in a suitable growth medium is called tissue culture or culture solution. In this process the growth medium or culture solution is very important as, it is used for growing plant tissue because it contains various plant nutrients in the form of ‘jelly’ known as agar and plant hormones which are necessary for the growth of plant.
The process of tissue culture for producing new plants is as follows:
1. A small piece of plant tissue is taken from the growing point of the plant or from the tip of the plant and placed on a sterile jelly which contains nutrients and plant hormones. The hormones make the cells in the plant tissue divide rapidly producing many cells which forms a shapeless lump of mass called ‘callus’.
2. The callus is then transferred to another jelly containing suitable plant hormones which stimulate the callus to develop roots.
3. The callus with developed roots is then put on a yet another jelly containing different hormones which stimulate the development of shoots.
4. The callus having roots and shoots separates into tiny plantlets. In this way, many tiny plantlets are produced from just a few original plant cells or tissue.
5. The plantlets thus produced are transplanted into pots or soil where they can grow to form mature plants.
What is the offspring of a seed and a clone?
We know that seeds are produced due to sexual reproduction of plants and each seed has its own genetic material which is unique from other seeds and also from the parent plant. Generally, tissue culture plants are micro propagated cuttings or clones, genetically identical to the mother and all the daughter plants.
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Use of Tissue Culture technique
The tissue culture technique is being used increasingly for the production of ornamental plants like orchids, dahlia, carnation, chrysanthemum, etc. The production of plants by the method of tissue culture is also known as micro propagation because small amount of plant material is used.
Advantages of Tissue Culture
1. Tissue culture is a very fast technique. Thousands of plantlets can be produced in a few weeks time from a small amount of plant tissue.
2. The new plants produced by tissue culture are disease free.
3. Tissue culture can grow plants round the year, irrespective of weather or season.
4. Very little space is needed for developing new plants by tissue culture.
5. It helps to speed up the production of new varieties into the market place.
6. In case of the seed potato industry, this technique helps in maintaining and establishing virus free stock.
So, we have understood that tissue culture is a technique which is important for transforming plants with new genes.