Science - February 3, 2005

One desk for plant tissue culture

All the activities concerning plant tissue culture at Wageningen UR have now been brought together in a new expertise centre: the Wageningen Tissue Culture Centre (WTCC).

‘It took a while, but now we can tell the world,’ said Dr Frans Krens of Plant Research International. He is the coordinator of the new virtual centre that is intended to make the research, education and advisory work that Wageningen UR does on plant tissue culture ‘more visible’.

The centre was set up as the Tissue Culture research unit of Applied Plant Research moved to Wageningen from its previous location in Lisse in the west of the Netherlands. ‘Most of the research and education on tissue culture is now concentrated in Wageningen, and now we have made it easier for clients by setting up a desk where they can get in touch with us,’ explains Krens.

In tissue culture or in-vitro propagation, parts of plants, such as buds or pieces of leaf, are used to make new plants. In this way genetically identical clones of a mother plant can be grown quickly. The technique is of vital importance to plant breeders, and many horticulturalists use starting material that has been raised in specialised tissue culture laboratories for indoor plants, flowers, trees and bushes and sometimes also for vegetables. / GvM