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Beverly Erlebacher bae at cs.toronto.edu
Wed Feb 18 13:02:02 EST 1998

In article <19980217093601.EAA14708 at ladder03.news.aol.com>,
PPost10565 <ppost10565 at aol.com> wrote:
>There has been alot of referrences lately to micro- and cellular propagation.
>Is this something a home gardener could play around with to any degree, do you
>know of any good "layman's" books on the subject, and could you give me a brief
>overview of what's involved?
>(ease the curiosity a little...)

I suggest "Plants from Test Tubes" by Lydianne Kyte, published by Timber
Press.  I haven't seen the new edition that just came out last year, but
the first one was very good.  You will have to invest in some plant hormones
and other chemicals, which a high school science teacher can probably order
for you, but you can build your own still air hood and use baby food jars
and a kitchen pressure cooker, tap water and table sugar.  The book is
aimed at practical plant propagators who want to add this technique to 
their repertoire, and doesn't require an academic knowledge of plant

Basically what is involved is taking a small piece of undifferentiated
cells from the meristem (growing point) of a plant, growing it on an
agar medium with plant hormones that keep it from differentiating, so
it forms a larger mass of tissue, then chopping this lump up and growing
the bits on a medium with different hormones so that each bit differentiates
by growing roots, shoots, etc and becoming an individual plant which can
be grown on and eventually planted in soil.  The tricky parts are (1) keeping
everything sterile so your plants don't get attacked by molds and (2) knowing
which combinations of hormones to use for which stage for which plant.  THe
hormone combinations seem to be a trial and error process, but recipes have
been worked out for many common plants and the books gives them.

Hope this helps, and that I'm not too far off base.  I haven't done this
stuff myself, but like you, I hope to have a chance to play around with 
this some time.

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