How could farmers overcome the problems of cloning crop plants?
One way in which farmers could overcome this problem is by sectioning out a piece of land for the other (non-cloned) plants to be grown. Maintaining the gene pool is paramount, due to the fact of susceptibility of diseases the farmers could rely on plants that survive any changes in the environment. Also, it is beneficial to clone 3 or 4 plants with positive characteristics. This way the chance of infection in one type of clone can be ignored as the farmers can still resort to the other types of plants with are infection-free.
- A piece of the adult plant is cut (either stem, root or leaf section cuttings)
- An additional step, to enable bigger root systems, is that the cuttings can be dipped in hormone rooting powder or planted in soil which contains a rooting compound that facilitates a growth hormone for the plant.
- Then plant the cutting into a small plant pot containing soil – water the plant every 2-3 days and place in medium-low sunlight to enable faster growth.
- After a few weeks the plant cutting would have grown into a full-sized clone.
Advantages of cloning
There are a variety of benefits of cloning plants commercially. The overall advantage is that the plants that are chosen to be cloned have beneficial characteristics to humans (a specific, beautiful plant can be sold in large quantities, thus more profit for sellers). A higher yield of vegetation can be obtained from high-quality plant clones – (more strawberries from a certain plant than other strawberry plants). They have the same genetic potential as the parent. Also cloning is cost effective in comparison to buying and nurturing seeds, as very large numbers of plants can be created from a tiny cutting. Also, clones can produce drought and pest resistance crops.
Disadvantages of cloning
One of the biggest cons of cloning plants is that all the clones will have an equal susceptibility to diseases due to the fact that the plants share the same DNA, the infection/disease will be equally as likely to kill the clones - same vulnerability. There is still a cost to clone crop plants and to develop the procedure. A cloned population of new plants are less able to deal with other environmental changes (disrupts evolution in nature). It also reduces the ‘gene pool’ of other plants which may seem to have less beneficial characteristics.
How farmers could overcome the disadvantages?
- Tissue/cell samples of the parent plant are taken
- The samples are transferred Petri dishes onto agar jelly (nutrient).
- Auxins/ plant hormones are added to the jelly which enables further cell division to occur.
- Cells grow very quickly into varying masses of tissue
- Even more auxins are added to the cell masses which stimulate the growth of stems and roots.
- The masses develop into plantlets, which are transferred into a pot to grow into plants (clones)