OCR A Level Biology

Revision Notes

6.4.4 Uses of Plant Cloning

Uses of Plant Cloning

Advantages of plant cloning

  • All the plants have the same genotype and hence phenotype
  • The plants produced are free of disease
  • The plants can be genetically modified to confer immunity to certain diseases
    • Genetic modification enables growers to ensure that plants carry very distinct characteristics
  • The process is rapid and can yield large numbers of new plants
  • The small plants that are produced can be transported easily to other sites
  • Plants that are difficult to grow from their seeds can be produced by plant cloning
  • Plants can be grown in any country, in any season
  • Rare and endangered species can be propagated to save them from extinction
  • Whole plants can be created from genetically modified cells/tissues
  • The use of cultivars prevents the risk of F1 hybrids that occur when plants are crossed and grown from seeds, so the products are more uniform

Disadvantages of plant cloning

  • It is an expensive and labour-intensive process
  • The process is susceptible to microbial contamination
  • There is no genetic variation, so all of the offspring are susceptible to the same diseases or other environmental factors
    • This risks large-scale loss of a country’s / continent’s crop of a particular plant, so a range of cultivars is recommended
  • New plants have to be carefully screened for abnormalities that could lead to the new plants being infected
  • There is a risk of an unexpected secondary metabolic chemical reaction that could cause stunted growth or even death in the new explants
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