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Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloning Plants

Posted Apr 01 2010 1:15am

Cloning is a controversial subject.  People tend to have different views on cloning of plants than that of cloning animals or humans.  Science and Ethics don’t always see eye to eye on the subject but research continues on the subject. The cloning of plants is more accepted than that of animals and humans.

advantages and disadvantages of cloning plants

Advantages of Cloning Plants

In the broad spectrum of discussions several good points have been made to the advantages of cloning plants.

  • Production of more disease resistant plants.
  • Reproduction of superior plants that have nutritional superiority.
  • Predictable growth which save millions lost in failed crops
  • The ability to address world hunger through science, not dependent on farmers.
  • Applicable to not only nutrition, but for medicinal purposes as well.
  • Plants that are resistant to pesticides can be more easily reproduced.

Disadvantages of Cloning Plants

There are good arguments against the cloning of plants as well.  Some of these include:

  • Genetically engineering a fully clone plant could result in a decrease in DNA diversity.
  • The need for genetic variation in the future is unpredictable and cannot be underestimated.
  • The cost and time for the processing of cloned plants
  • Consumer resistance to change
  • Cloned plants may not be able to reproduce naturally, thus if we stop growing plants naturally and one species dies off, we have no way to get it back.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloning Plants

Overall, cloning of plants has been used by backyard gardeners and farmers for years.  The process involves the collection of a sample of the parent plant and nourishing it with specific hormones and nutrients to grow an identical replication of the parent plant.

Nature sometimes clones itself.  Some plants reproduce asexually including strawberries, potatoes, onions, sassafras, gray dogwood and sumac.  The shoots they release underground which we refer to as runners, produce a plant that is identical genetically to the original plant that the runner came from.

You have possibly already eaten or cloned a plant yourself.  If you have taken a cutting from your friends prettiest plant, supplied it with nutrients and planted it you have cloned an exact replica of your friends’ plant.  If you have enjoyed the seedless grapes and oranges from the supermarket, you have eaten a genetically altered plant.  Some people have found that improved genetically altered foods are preferred over the original version.

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