The Mad Scientist and the Violet Clones

Kristine tells us about cloning African violets.  The little plantlets are soooo cute!

Every time I think of a clone my immediate image is alien shaped pods with a ton of goo oozing out, and the mad scientist in the corner wearing a lab coat with a crazed look in their eye. And now, I know what it's like to be that mad scientist. 

In the same class where I was taking care of NIH-3T3 cells, we did a cloning experiment on African Violets. This was the first experiment we did in the class, so it was also the 'introduction' on how to work in a laminar flow hood and how to maintain a sterile environment. I'm not sure what I was more nervous about, contaminating my work space, or starting a fire with the butane and alcohol that was used to sterilize the equipment inside of the hood. After the fire safety run down from the professor, we sterilized a leaf taken from the plant and placed small pieces of it into explant media what was in a small petri dish.


I honestly didn't have much hope for my little leaflets. I don't necessary have a green thumb, and unintentionally leaving the leaf longer inside of the bleach while sterilizing it gave me some doubts that it was still alive. But sealed with para-film and under a florescent light I couldn't do much more damage to them. Roughly a month of letting them be, adventitious shoots started to sprout from the leaflets.


Note to self: make sure there are no holes in the parafilm, or the condensation will dry up. With the parafilm sealing the petri dish, it created a perfect little enviroment.Once the shoots where big enough they were moved once again into a media that that would help to elongate them so they can be placed into their 'alien' pods and planted to grow. Que mad scientist laugh!





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