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University of Guelph


Bovey Bldg
601 Gordon St, Guelph, ON
N1G 1Y2 Canada

Tissue Culture


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.

Selected Publications

  1. Rathwell R, Shukla M, Jones M, Saxena PK. (2016). In vitro propagation of cherry birch (Betula lenta L.). Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96(4): 571-578.
  2. Shukla MR, Jones AMP, Sullivan JA, Liu C, Gosling S, Saxena PK. (2012). In vitro conservation of American elm (Ulmus americana): potential role of auxin metabolism in sustained plant proliferation. Can. J.For. Res.42: 686-697.
  3. Uchendu EE, Paliyath G, Brown DCW, Saxena PK. (2011). In vitro propagation of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). In Vitro Cell Dev. Biol.-Plant. 47: 710-718.
  4. Sherif SM, Erland LA, Shukla MR, Saxena PK. (2017). Bark and wood tissues of American elm exhibit distinct responses to Dutch elm disease. Scientific Reports (Nature). doi: 10.1038/s41598-
  5. Sherif SM, Shukla MR, Murch SJ, Bernier L, Saxena PK. (2016). Simultaneous induction of jasmonic acid and disease-responsive genes signifies tolerance of American elm to Dutch elm disease. Scientific Reports (Nature). 6: 21934.
  6. Sherif S, Jones AMP, Shukla MR, Saxena PK. (2013). Establishment of invasive and non-invasive reporter systems to investigate American elm-Ophiostoma novo-ulmi interactions. Fungal Genetics and Biology 8(10): e76802.
  7. Y Zhao, W Sun, Y Wang, PK Saxena, CZ Liu. (2012) Improved mass multiplication of Rhodiola crenulata shoots using temporary immersion bioreactor with forced ventilation. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology 166 (6), 1480-1490.