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Old 05 March 2007, 06:03 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
Posts: 6,657

Originally Posted by BringTheNoise View Post
That's why all my vegetables are cloned in a sterile labratory!
It might amuse you to know that the word "clone" is derived from a word describing the process of propagating plants by grafting.

I had imagined that the etymology of clone was a corruption of colony, but it is actually derived from the Greek, klon, meaning a twig or small branch. This etymology reveals the original use of the word clone to describe vegetative reproduction of plants by taking cuttings. Because higher plants, unlike animals, do not sequester a germline distinct from somatic cells, plant cells remain pluripotent; reproductive cloning of plants, for example potatoes, occurs naturally and has been practiced for millennia by horticulturists in the propagation of vines and fruit trees. The new plants derived from cuttings or grafts are genetically identical to the parent, and the term clone came to be used for any form of artificial, asexual means of replication.

Although the word clone was introduced botanically in 1903, the first use that I have found to describe replication from a single progenitor was in 1954 when Theodore T. Puck and colleagues cloned human cells in culture. However, the word clone did not appear in general dictionaries until later. My 1964 Oxford Concise Dictionary restricts the definition to “a group of plants reproduced vegetatively from one original seedling or stock,” whereas my wife’s 1992 Chambers Pocket Dictionary gives two meanings: (1) (anyone of) a group of identical organisms reproduced by a non-sexual process from a single cell of the parent; (2) (colloq. or derog.) a person or thing that looks like a replica of someone or something else. The “single-cell” restriction in Chambers implies that it no longer refers to vegetative propagation of plants.
Robin A. Weiss. "Robert Koch: The Grandfather of Cloning?" Cell:Volume 123, Issue 4 , 18 November 2005, Pages 539-542.

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