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  • Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 9 June 2011 Referencing Hub media
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    Dr Richard Espley

    If Agrobacterium is able to successfully transform parts of a leaf, what it’s doing is transforming individual cells in those leaves. These cells will divide and grow and they become a sort of undifferentiated clump of cells growing.

    But plants have this amazing ability to effectively recreate themselves – it’s called totipotency – and they can create a whole plant from just one cell.

    So what we get is these undifferentiated cells, they start to differentiate, and they start to resemble early leaves and even early stem, and we can help them do that by introducing various hormones. Cytokinin helps the plant grow, the shoot elongate, and auxin will help the roots grow. So we can create a whole plantlet in the lab.

    Once we have these little plantlets in the laboratory, we can graft those, for example, with apple, onto an apple rootstock, and from there, they will grow into a tree.

    © The University of Waikato

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