Question Video: Stating the Feature of Plants that Allows them to be Cloned by Tissue Culture Biology

Which plant characteristic allows large numbers of clones to be produced by tissue culture?

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Video Transcript

Which plant characteristic allows large numbers of clones to be produced by tissue culture? (A) Plants are able to grow structures such as bulbs and runners that form identical offspring. (B) Plant cells can be stimulated to grow and differentiate to form a complete organism. (C) Plants can produce large numbers of seeds at one time that can be dispersed over a large area. (D) Plants use a variety of methods, such as wind and insects, to promote pollination. Or (E) plants can switch between asexual and sexual reproduction depending on the environmental conditions.

We can see the key terms clones and tissue culture in the question, which tells us that this question deals with asexual reproduction in plants. Asexual reproduction can happen through a variety of methods, such as binary fission, budding, regeneration, sporogenesis, parthenogenesis, and vegetative propagation. Vegetative propagation refers to a type of asexual reproduction found only in plants and some algae. So let’s look more closely at this method.

Vegetative propagation is the production of plant clones from parts of a parent plant. Depending upon the species of plant, the offspring can arise from stems, bulbs, runners, roots, tubers, leaves, or even fruits, as shown in the diagram of a prickly pear cactus. Under the right environmental conditions, the fallen plant parts will take root and develop into new individuals. However, because vegetative propagation is a form of asexual reproduction, these offspring will not be genetically unique but rather are clones of their parent plant.

Sometimes scientists need to cultivate plants in a controlled environment. For example, they might want to conduct research on plant varieties that are resistant to disease or drought or have medicinal properties.

Tissue culture is a technique that allows this type of research to take place. It involves taking a sample of cells from living tissue, such as a plant leaf, and growing them in a controlled laboratory setting, typically on a special growth medium that contains essential plant nutrients. Hormones may be added to the growth medium to encourage the development of the cells. Interestingly, coconut water can sometimes be used as a growth medium because it contains nutrients and growth hormones that are essential for some plant species.

By relying on the same biological pathways used in vegetative propagation, scientists can stimulate the plant cells to grow and differentiate into whole organisms that can be transplanted for use in research studies. And because all the plants are clones, tissue culture allows the scientists to control for genetic differences between individual plants.

Returning to our answer options, we can see that although all of them contain true statements about plants, only option (B) accurately describes the characteristic that allows large numbers of clones to be produced through tissue culture. So the correct answer choice is (B). Plant cells can be stimulated to grow and differentiate to form a complete organism.

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