How to Get Cloning Success for 20 Generations and Counting…

Do you know about the first mammal ever cloned?  The sheep they names Dolly.  Dolly was just one of many attempts to clone a sheep, she was the first that survived.  It was heralded as great success.  However, many people do not know the end of the story,  Dolly had to be euthanized when she was only 6 (sheep live to 10-12 commonly)  The problem was she was suffering from geriatric diseases.  The problem with cloning is that cells keep track of your age, so if you clone a 5 year old sheep, its cells will know, and act, like they are 5 years old the day it is born.  This limits animal cloning today, since you need to wait for an animal to mature to know if it has the characteristics you want in the clones.  The same is true for plants, the cells know how old they are.

Good growers know that you can only clone a plant so many times.  Many scientific publications have shown as few as 5 times are possible to get a plant to clone without changes in growth, yield etc.   I have a friend that has cloned her plants over 20 times, and has no noticeable difference.   Here is the trick...  Plants measure days in light and dark cycle, with a substance called phytochrome, (click here to read a post about phytochrome and plant flowering)  so it would make sense that a plant that was kept on 24 hours of light might think it was one day old.  This would make a HUGE difference in cloning longevity compared to growers that use an 18/6 light cycle.   A plant on 18/6 will be a month or more old when you clone it, (it will have had 30 days and 30 nights) and if its offspring are cloned using 18/6 they will add another month to the age.  After a few generations of cloning, the plants will think it is a year old, which for annuals means they will start to show growth abnormalities and have reduced yield etc.  Compare this with a plant that was on 24/7 for a month, it might think it is only a single day old!  If the next generation are then put on a 24/0 light and then cloned, the plants would be two days old.  This could be a way to have cloning work for maybe 100’s of generations. My friend is at 20 and counting with no signs of problems.  If any readers have any input, on this topic, please let me know.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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