Tissue Culture Technician

Summary

Tissue culture technicians use various techniques to asexually reproduce live tissue, under laboratory conditions, producing specimens that are genetically identical to, or different from, the parent tissue. The process of producing genetically identical specimens is commonly known as cloning. Tissue culture is used for a wide variety of commercially important agricultural and horticultural plants, in the propagation of rare and endangered plant species, and in the growth of tissues or cells used in health and medical research and treatments.

Duties & Tasks

Tissue culture technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • clean, sterilise and maintain equipment and facilities
  • set up and operate equipment including microscopes, environmental chambers (incubators) and centrifuges
  • select live material with the desired characteristics
  • dissect and test tissues or cells for viruses and other diseases
  • prepare selected tissues or cells for reproduction
  • prepare reproductive and growth chemical solutions (medias) suitable for the species to be cloned
  • chemically treat selected tissues or cells to induce genetic mutations
  • place tissues or cells in sterile chemical solutions or medias and place on shakers to initiate reproduction or growth
  • place reproduced plant material in sealed sterile containers containing a nutrient gel, then grow under controlled temperature and light conditions, repeating this process until the specimens are of sufficient size
  • grow samples of cloned cells or organisms to maturity and monitor them for desirable or undesirable genetic mutations (genotypes) or characteristics (phenotypes)
  • record results by using computers or other methods.

Working Conditions

Tissue culture technicians mostly work in laboratories, with a small amount of field and shadehouse work.

Personal Requirements

  • good eyesight (may be corrected)
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • able to concentrate on detail
  • able to keep records accurately.

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