Cloning- a discussion

Recently, you may have seen several media articles claiming that a new project is being launched in France to clone the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum).  These articles made headlines around the world and led to claims that truffle production will increase with scientists cloning truffles and trees. In fact, such experimentation is not new and has been the source of many projects for at least the past 20 years. Several studies have focused on truffle-strain selection as well as selecting and cloning well-performing host trees.

Cloning- a discussion

Recently, you may have seen several media articles claiming that a new project is being launched in France to clone the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum).  These articles made headlines around the world and led to claims that truffle production will increase with scientists cloning truffles and trees. In fact, such experimentation is not new and has been the source of many projects for at least the past 20 years. Several studies have focused on truffle-strain selection as well as selecting and cloning well-performing host trees. We even experimented with truffle cloning over 5 years ago.
So why isn’t cloning more commonly used? Using cloned trees/fungus to create a plantation means that you have a very narrow genetic range. Without getting too technical, this means that the plantation is far more susceptible to disease and changes in climate. Such problems have been seen in the banana industry, where large levels of production arise from only a handful of different clones. Also, the particular clone that is used may look good in the laboratory and under the microscope but its true worth is not proved until truffles are produced. For example, a clone may be selected that causes good root-coverage of the fungus but may not produce good yields. Here at Mycorrhizal Systems, we place a large emphasis on genetic diversity to counteract the threat of disease and climate alterations.
Cloning is a very interesting tool and important in furthering our understanding, but would we plant a site full of cloned trees/fungus? Probably not.

QUESTIONS?

You are in the right place. Please fill out our short form and one of our friendly team will contact you.

X
CONTACT US