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Any organism which shows asexual reproduction will produce clones. The offspring are all genetically identical. Some crop plants are reproduced exclusively in this way, e.g. potato (Solanum). These are grown from stem tubers produced the previous year (these are confusingly called 'seed' potatoes which they are not). Another example is sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), which is reproduced yearly by planting stem cuttings.
Cloning, therefore, has a long history and it is very useful if the desired combination of genes is to be maintained. Recently cloning has been carried out using the technique of tissue culture. Cells are taken from the parent plant and are grown on an agar jelly which is impregnated with a special cocktail of plant hormones and minerals to encourage cell division. The recipes are a closely guarded secret of the commercial plant breeders.
The first stage is to produce a callus, which is a lump of undifferentiated tissue.
The second stage is to cut the callus up into small pieces from which are grown fully differentiated clones. This requires a different mixture of plant hormones and minerals.
Once these clones have reached a sufficient stage of development, with roots and leaves, they can be planted out and grown into adult plants.
In this way millions of identical plants can be produced from a small amount of tissue.
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