Perspective - Journal of Plant Biotechnology and Microbiology (2023) Volume 6, Issue 4
Preserving endangered species: Tissue culture for conservation of rare plants
Oliver Drik *
Department of Environmental Science, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
- *Corresponding Author:
- Oliver Drik
Department of Environmental Science
University of Stirling
Received: 14-July-2023, Manuscript No. AAPBM-23-109992; Editor assigned: 16-July-2023, PreQC No.AAPBM-23-109992(PQ); Reviewed: 31-July-2023, QC No.AAPBM-23-109992; Revised: 03-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. AAPBM-23-109992(R); Published: 18-Aug-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aapbm-6.4.162
Citation: Drik O. Preserving endangered species: Tissue culture for conservation of rare plants. J Plant Bio Technol.2023;6(4):162.
The loss of biodiversity, driven by habitat destruction, climate change, and human activities, has placed numerous plant species on the brink of extinction. In the face of this crisis, conservation efforts have taken on a new urgency. Tissue culture, a technique that involves the growth of plant cells, tissues, and organs in a controlled environment, has emerged as a powerful tool for preserving and propagating endangered plant species. This article explores the significance of tissue culture in the conservation of rare plants, shedding light on its methods, benefits, and challenges .
Tissue culture, often referred to as in vitro propagation, involves cultivating plant cells or tissues in a nutrient-rich medium under sterile conditions. This technique encompasses various methods, including micropropagation, somatic embryogenesis, and organogenesis . In micropropagation, small portions of plant tissues, such as shoot tips or nodal segments, are excised and cultured to develop into complete plants. Somatic embryogenesis involves inducing plant cells to form embryos without the need for seeds. Organogenesis, on the other hand, focuses on the regeneration of specific plant organs from tissue explants .
Benefits of Tissue Culture in Conservation
Rapid Multiplication: Tissue culture allows for the mass production of plants within a short span, enabling conservationists to quickly generate large numbers of rare species for re-introduction into their natural habitats.
Genetic Stability: Tissue culture can maintain the genetic integrity of endangered species, as the progeny produced through this method are often genetically identical to the parent plant. This preserves the unique genetic makeup of the species.
Rescue of Threatened Species: When populations of rare plants are critically low in the wild, tissue culture can serve as a last resort for rescuing and recovering these species from the brink of extinction .
Phytosanitary Control: The controlled environment of tissue culture minimizes the risk of contamination by pests and diseases, ensuring that the propagated plants are healthy and disease-free.
Overcoming Seed Dormancy: Many rare plants have seeds with complex dormancy mechanisms that hinder germination. Tissue culture offers an alternative means of propagation, bypassing these barriers.
Challenges and Limitations
Genetic Diversity: While tissue culture maintains genetic stability, it can lead to reduced genetic diversity due to the reliance on a single genotype. This can make propagated populations vulnerable to changing environmental conditions.
Labor and Resources: Tissue culture demands skilled personnel, specialized equipment, and financial resources. These requirements can be a barrier for conservation initiatives, especially in resource-constrained regions.
Acclimatization: Transitioning plants from the controlled environment of tissue culture to the natural habitat can be challenging. Acclimatization techniques must be employed to help plants adapt to external conditions.
Epigenetic Changes: Tissue culture can induce epigenetic changes that impact the growth and development of plants. These changes may affect the success of re-introduction efforts.
Technical Expertise: Successful tissue culture requires a deep understanding of plant physiology, micropropagation techniques, and sterile laboratory practices. Lack of expertise can result in failure to establish cultures.
Success Stories: Numerous success stories highlight the potential of tissue culture in plant conservation. The California condor plant (Benitoa aurea), a rare perennial herb, was propagated using tissue culture and successfully reintroduced to its native habitat. Similarly, the Hawaiian silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense), facing extinction due to habitat loss, was saved from the brink through tissue culture-assisted propagation and reintroduction efforts .
Tissue culture has emerged as a vital tool in the conservation of rare and endangered plant species. Its ability to rapidly propagate plants, preserve genetic integrity, and rescue species from extinction presents a beacon of hope in the face of biodiversity loss. While challenges exist, advancements in tissue culture techniques and ongoing research continue to refine the approach. As we strive to safeguard the planet's unique flora, the integration of tissue culture into conservation strategies offers a tangible pathway to preserving the beauty and diversity of our natural world. In the critical task of saving endangered species, tissue culture stands as a testament to human ingenuity and determination, reminding us that even in the face of adversity, there is always a way to nurture life and protect the delicate balance of our ecosystems.
- Blackie M. The role of agriculture in the nutrition of children. Paediatr Int Child Health 2014;34(4):289-94.
- Kashyap PL, Kumar S, Srivastava AK, et al. Myconanotechnology in agriculture: a perspective. J World Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013;29(2):191-207.
- Shepherd M, Turner JA, Small B, et al. Priorities for science to overcome hurdles thwarting the full promise of the ‘digital agriculture’revolution. J Sci Food Agric. 2020;100(14):5083-92.
- Smyth SJ, Lassoued R. Agriculture R&D implications of the CJEU’s gene-specific mutagenesis ruling. Trends Biotechnol. 2019;37(4):337-40.
- Dube L, Pingali P, Webb P. Paths of convergence for agriculture, health, and wealth. PNAS 2012;109(31):12294-301.