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School Biology revision notes: Cell specialisation 7 Use of plant stem cells

Cell specialisation: 7. Use of plant stem cells from meristems to make identical plants

Doc Brown's GCSE level Biology exam study revision notes

There are various sections to work through, after 1 they can be read and studied in any order.

Sub-index for notes on stem cells, cell differentiation and cell specialisation


(7) Plant stem cells - the production of identical plants from meristems

In plants, the only cells that divide by mitosis are found in plant tissues called meristems.

Meristem tissue is found in the tips of roots and shoots - the parts of plants that are growing.

Meristems make undifferentiated (unspecialised) cells that can divide and form any type of cell the plant needs.

These unspecialised cells are effectively acts as 'embryonic' stem cells.

However, unlike human stem cells, they can differentiate to form any type of cell for the lifetime of the plant.

These unspecialised cells can form the specialised tissue cells of the xylem and phloem.

Plant stem cells can be used to make clones - so identical genetic copies of a plant can be grown quickly and cheaply.

This means plant growers can grow crops of identical plants that have been genetically engineered to have more desirable features for farmers e.g. increased size of wheat grain, more disease resistant - but GM crops are also a controversial topic too!

Cloning has an important application in preserving rare species of plants - to grow more of those in danger of becoming extinct.

See Hormone control of plant growth and uses of plant hormones

and section on plants in Cloning - tissue culture of plants for more details on cloning


Summary of learning objectives and key words or phrases

Describe and explain the use of plant stem cells from meristems to make identical plants.


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