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Benefits of Cloning Plants

Abhijit Naik Feb 21, 2019
Those in favor of plant cloning cite a whole lot of benefits in a bid to support this concept. Do these benefits really overshadow its negative attributes?
Most of the benefits of plant cloning revolve around the fact that it can help us grow better quality plants, which are not just high in nutrition, but also resistant to numerous diseases.
But is it ethical to interfere in the normal growth process of plants and resort to cloning to speed up their development by artificial means? Science and ethics have always found each other at loggerheads when it comes to cloning.
However, the extent to which critics oppose plant cloning is far less compared to their opposition to animal cloning or human cloning, and the fact that it has more advantages has an important role to play in this stand.

What are the Benefits of Cloning Plants?

The concept of cloning plants is not new in science. The practice of cloning plants in water and plant tissue culture can be traced back to ancient times, with the former being an important attribute of Feng Shui in ancient China. While selective pollination is not unknown to us anymore, plant cloning is just a step forward, on a large scale.
  • The introduction of plant cloning is expected to be helpful for agriculture sector, as the crop yield will become much more predictable and reliable.
  • Cloned plants reproduce faster than their normal counterparts, which means the period between planting and harvesting will be reduced by a significant extent.
  • If plants are cloned, we won't have to rely on the concept of pollination, which is dependent on various other factors, right from weather to pollinators.
  • Those plant species which do not produce seeds will be able to reproduce easily. Similarly, it will be easier to grow those species which are difficult to grow as a result of scarcity of seeds.
  • The genetic engineering to which the plants are subjected to in the process of cloning will make them more disease resistant than their natural counterparts. At the same time, we will be able to grow plants which are not vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides.
  • By resorting to cloning, we will be able to make sure that a particular kind of disease, which has already resulted in crop failure before, doesn't raise its head again.
  • More importantly, the high yield that the cloned plants promise will come at a low cost, as the overall cost for growing plants will be reduced by a significant extent.
  • By resorting to plant cloning, we will be able to ensure that no more plant species become extinct from the planet. In fact, it will be a lifesaving measure for endangered plants.
  • While nutritional superiority will be the predominant feature of cloned plants, this will also help us grow plants with medicinal properties and keep various diseases at bay.
  • In the end, plant cloning will also facilitate production of 'super plants', i.e., plants which will be high in nutrition content and less resistance to various diseases and pesticides.
While these benefits make the concept seem quite promising, you can't afford to ignore its disadvantages. We need to understand that all plants are susceptible to various diseases and only the best among them survive.
This is the nature's way of ensuring that the best of the genes are carried forward. So, cloning plants will be interfering with this natural process and disrupting the ecological balance. Furthermore, the chances of the crop produced by cloned plants adversely affecting human health cannot be ruled out.