Cloning - Old School

Cloning or the production of genetically identical individuals is a process that has existed for thousands of years.  Yet in today's world cloning is still feared by some, especially when discussing the potential of human cloning.  As a Biologist and former molecular geneticist much of my time was spent cloning, mostly just DNA fragments which required producing populations of cloned bacteria with the DNA fragment of interest for analysis.  Cloning was a fundamental tool in the work on the genetics of Type II Diabetes in Pima Indians.  With DNA sequencers, a dozen PCR machines, and an oligonucleotide synthesizer, it was possible to localize regions of specific human chromosomes which were linked to a number of diabetic traits in the study population.

Fast forward in time, no longer running a laboratory but instead running a 750 acre estate in the remote southwest corner of New Mexico.  Without the large grants and federal support there is no laboratory, no DNA sequencers, no PCR machines.  So, is it possible to still clone?  The answer is yes, but only using old school techniques, and while not cloning DNA fragments it is still possible to clone.  Instead of cloning human DNA it is possible to clone plant material using the tools available. Oaks were chosen since rhizomes from the tree send up new shoots around the base of tree.  Several of these sprouts were isolated, cut, and treated with rooting hormone then individually planted in 1 gallon plastic ice cream buckets, creating a second mechanism (besides growing from acorns) to produce oaks for the Painted Pony Resort.  It is nice to be able to practice some of the old skills (cloning) in a new way.

cloned oaks
Cloned oaks with lizard.
For anyone interested, here are links to some papers that resulted from the Diabetes research.



  1. I had to look for that lizard.............sort of like that game "where's Waldo?"

  2. There are several lizards that hang out around hose bib since it leaks and attracts food for the lizards.