Worlds of David Darling > Children's Encyclopedia of Science > Could You Ever Live Forever? > Hands On


a book in the Could You Ever? series by David Darling

Could You Ever Live Forever book cover Contents
The Challenge
1. Matters of Life and Death
2. The Fight Against Disease
3. New Parts for Old
4. The Secrets of Aging
Hands On

Hands On

Though you cannot keep a plant alive forever, you can do the next best thing by producing a clone. This is an individual that is identical in every way to its parent.

cloning plants experiment

Cut three healthy, medium-sized leaves from an African violet. Such plants can be bought from a florist or large supermarket. Trim the stem of each leaf to two inches in length. Dip the stems in rooting compound, and plant them in a pot of seed and cutting compost. Water the planted stems, then cover as shown. Put the pot in a warm, sunny place. Remove the bag after three days. Water as needed from below.

When the new plants are fully grown, compare them with the original. If you could look inside a cell of ne of the offspring, you would see that the genes it contains are exactly the same as those of the parent. Genes carry the chemical "blueprint" for an animal or plant. You can now make clones of the clones, and so on, so that the genes of the original plant live on into future generations.