medicinal purposes of VFT and tissue culture

Ben Levin benjinsl at astro.ocis.temple.edu
Sun Jun 11 14:35:08 EST 1995


Hey Dio it's me again (Ben),

I.  Medicinal purposes.  Probably used for home remedies,  like folklore 
medicine,  i.e. a bunch of b.s. (not that all folklore medecine is,  mind 
you).
II.  Tissue Culture.  Tissue culture is based on the fact that all plant 
cells are 'totipotent',  meaning each cell has the potential to become a 
complete plant genetically identical to the plant from which it came,  
i.e. clones.  For the most part any plant cell,  whether it is a root,  
leaf,  or even a pollen cell,  is able to become a new plant,  something 
not possible with animals.  [One interesting thing to note is that if 
pollen cells are used,  one can create a haploid plant,  one that has 
only half of the genetic material as it's parent,  due to the fact that 
the cell from which it originated had only half of it's parent's genetic 
material,  as all gametes (sex cells) do,  even in humans.]
 The general procedure followed starts by getting a piece of sterile 
tissue from the plant one wishes to clone.  While working under sterile 
conditions the tissue is placed on a jello-like substance containing 
phytohormones,  minerals,  vitamins (sometimes), and a carbo source 
(various sugars,  usually just sucrose, I believe) in containers which 
are then sealed.  The tissue grows differently depending on the hormones 
in the media,  which are determined depending on what is desired of the 
tissue. For instance,  some hormones cause the tissue to form a callus,  
a tumor-like mass of undifferentiated cells,  whereas others cause the 
formation of shoots,  and others can cause the initiation of roots.
 TC is used extensively in genetic engineering with plants,  as well as 
with propagation of plants that are rare/difficult to propagate by 
conventional methods (hence the use of TC with orchids,  actually the 
first commercial use of TC.  If my memory serves me right I believe that 
this was done in France in the 60's).  TC is also used with plants that 
are difficult or illegal to get from the wild (CP's).
III.  Genetic manipulation.  Sure it's possible,  if you know what and 
how which genes control such things as plant "voracity".  Since,  at 
least since the last time I checked,  no one is doing any research on the 
genetics of VFT's (Dionae muscipula) it'll be a while until such plants 
are produced.  Of course there's always the possibility of manipulating 
the genes the hard way,  i.e. breeding,  but I've never heard in all my 
days of being a CP follower of a variety of VFT known for being more 
"voracious" than any other,  although that does not preclude such a thing 
actually existing...
HTH

Ben
benjinsl at astro.ocis.temple.edu



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