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. This growth medium enables scientists to work with very small pieces of plant material and enables the propagation of some species that cannot 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 — A complimentary propagation method for some species of Pines is called somatic embryogenesis and can be used to mass produce genetically identical varietal seedlings. Somatic embryogenesis is a process of embryo initiation and development in tissue culture from non-embryogenic tissue such as leaf and stem or tissue from seeds. Since somatic embryos lack the nutritive tissue and seed coat of a typical seed they are carefully nurtured in the laboratory until they develop into independently growing plantlets. Somatic embryogenesis enables cost effective production of millions of genetically identical Pines. The very best embryos can be cryostored for many years.