Combining Plant DNA

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Combining plant DNA is possible by grafting or cross-pollinating two different species of plant to create a new species. Understand how DNA is combined to produce hybrid fruits and vegetables with information from a biology teacher in this free video on science.

Part of the Video Series: DNA Structure & Testing
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Video Transcript

One of my favorite fruits is a tangelo which is a cross between a tangerine and an orange. Have you ever wondered how they actually create the crosses of fruit? Hi I'm Janice Crenetti. I've been teaching biology for over 20 years and I'm here to talk to you today about combining plant DNA. When scientists and farmers were first figuring out how to cross different species of plants, they would in fruit trees do something called grafting. They had cut the branch off of a tangerine tree and graft it to an orange tree and the tree would produce this cross between an orange and a tangerine called a tangelo. Well scientists have discovered more and more about how living things work and they've discovered something called DNA which is the genetic material inside cells that's kind of like the recipe book or the blueprint for making a living thing what it is. They've discovered how to cross different organisms in a much simpler way. You can actually combine plant DNA using some simple flowers. In fact some people will even do this with their plants at home because it tends to boost production of vegetables or fruits for instance. If you look inside a flower, there's actually male and female reproduction parts inside of it. This part right here is the part that's got the pollen which is basically the sperm of the plant. And in this part right here is sort of like the ovary. Now normally what happens in a plant is that the pollen from this particular flower will fertilize the eggs that are down in the ovary and the plant will produce replicas of itself. If you've ever heard the term pollination, you might have known that a bee or a butterfly or something like that, landing on a flower gets some pollen grains on it's leg and then flies to another flower and as it's feeding on that flower, it'll drop some of the pollen grains from the other plant into the new flower and that's how plants actually get their genetic material crossed. Well you can actually intentionally combine plant DNA by taking a q-tip, swabbing it on this part of the flower to pick up some pollen and then go to another flower on a different plant and take that pollen and rub it into this part right here, into the sepal and get the pollen from one flower into the ovary of another flower. You can experiment with lots of different types. Zucchini plants are a popular one. So it's pretty easy to actually combine DNA now that we understand where it is and what it is. I'm Janice Crenetti and this is combining plant DNA.


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