Cloning in Plants and Animals

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Reproductive cloning is the production of a new individual with the genotype of an existing one. Non-reproductive cloning supplies replacement cells whose genotype matches that of an exisiting organism. 

Vegetative Propagation

Plant vegetative propagation is a form of natural cloning e.g. english elm trees can have their suckers removed and replanted. 

Tissue Culture (Micropropagation)

Used for plants that:

  • are difficult to grow from seed
  • do not have a natural method of asexual reproduction
  • are desirable hybrids and do not breed true
  • have been genetically engineered


  • Explants of tissue are taken from developing stems that have been surface sterilised.
  • In aseptic conditions they are placed in a growth medium containing sucrose as energy, other nutrients such as amino acids and inorganic ions and plant hormones to stimulate mitosis
  • Undifferentiated cells in the explant divide to produce a callus. 
  • This can be subdivided many times to increase the number of plants eventually produced.
  • Small pieces are transferred to a new growth medium with plant hormones to trigger differentiation into shoots and


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