Infinite Cloning of Trees
Somatic cells from trees can be cloned to produce large quantities and the technology to produce anti-cancer drugs and many other medicines through plant stem cells has been developed in Korea.
Journalist Seung Hwan Kim reports
The National Forest Research Institute has succeeded in cloning the endangered species used as a Christmas tree (Fir), the widely used herb Kalopanax and Elatus tree.
After the researchers collected the somatic cells from the trees, they turned back the clock of the cell and made it into a stem cell.
These stem cells proliferate and make countless amounts of new sprouts which are identical in genotype. These cloned trees are then planted into the ground and mass produced.
Dr. So Young Park/ National Forest Research Institute
“We can say that we have the advantage of cloning, mass producing and planting millions (of trees) even within 1 year.”
By using the plant stem cells we are able to gain the valuable resources from the tree without a need to clone the entire tree.
The yew tree is widely-known to produce the anti-cancer drug, “paclitaxel”.
For the first time, the researchers in Korea have succeeded in isolating stem cells from the highly concentrated yew tree stem. They have also secured the technology to mass produce paclitaxel, an anti-cancer compound, using these cells and this achievement was announced in an international academic journal.
Director Eun-Kyong Lee/ Unhwa Institute of Science and Technology
“Through plant stem cell culture we were able to verify the possibility and the potential of producing useful natural materials and chemicals”
Researchers state that the unique secret of longevity for a tree to live for more than a thousand years is in the stem cells; and in the near future, research on aging will continue to develop.
This is Seung Hwan Kim from MBC News.