Plant tissue culture is a technique used to grow plants under sterile conditions in order to gain greater control over plant growth and development.
Plant tissue culture involves taking a small piece or cutting of a plant (also known as the explant) and growing it in a semisolid or liquid medium containing necessary nutrients and hormones which are required for ensuring healthy plant growth.
GRIPP scientists use plant tissue culture for many purposes including to conserve endangered or threatened plants ex-situ, clonally propagate plants using a process known as micropropagation, and to study plant growth responses such as disease resistance and adaptations in changing climates.
GRIPP currently maintains an in vitro germplasm collection comprised of over 100 species from around the globe, including a variety of endangered medicinal plants and native Canadian plants. Some of the species currently being investigated include native trees such as American elm, American chestnut, maple, oak, ash, and cherry birch, and many ornamental and medicinal plants including orchids, holy basil, goldenseal, and St John’s Wort.