Once a genetically superior seedling is developed, ArborGen has a variety of propagation techniques to choose from to make sure there is a commercial quantity of plants for our customers.
Vegetative Propagation — Many plants are able to regenerate themselves from a cutting such as a small branch, root or leaf — this is known as vegetative propagation. Some species of trees can also be vegetatively propagated. ArborGen takes cuttings or shoots from high quality trees and roots them to produce vigorous new trees, preserving the best of the best. The new plants are genetically identical to the original, so a tree with superior traits can be maintained far beyond the lifetime of the original plant. People have made use of vegetative propagation to improve agricultural crops for centuries.
Tissue Culture — ArborGen scientists can grow cuttings from plants in a special mix of sugar, minerals and other nutrients called agar. This growth medium enables scientists to work with very small pieces of plant material and enables the propagation of some species that can not be reproduced using conventional cutting propagation. Every tree species, and often different varieties from the same species, needs careful adjustment of the tissue culture methods to produce the exact conditions that yield the best quality plantlets. The tissue culture methods used at ArborGen have been developed over many years of research and we continue to improve them so that new varieties can be incorporated into our programs.
Somatic Embryogenesis — For Pine trees that cannot be propagated using traditional vegetative propagation methods, for example some species of Pines, a process called somatic embryogenesis is used as a method of propagation to produce millions of genetically identical varietal seedlings. Somatic embryogenesis is a process of embryo initiation and development from vegetative or nongametic cells. Depending on the species and growth regulators used, somatic embryos can be produced either from undifferentiated callus or directly from well differentiated vegetative organs such as leaf and stem. Somatic embryos differ from its zygotic counter part in lacking endosperm and seed coat around them. Somatic embryogenesis enables cost effective production of millions of genetically identical Pines.