Building in Beyond Earth
+1 from Marsh
The propagation of Old Earth plants was of great interest to those settlements looking to prosper and propagate. Rather than relying on seeds or spores, the first horticultural nurseries after planetfall used cells preserved during the interstellar trip (when cargo space was at a premium); these cytonurseries allowed the first farms and orchards to be established once the ground was prepared. Later, the cytonurseries were used to grow indigenous and transgenetic hybrids, both for research purposes as colonial scientists labored to understand this alien ecosystem and to supplement the original food and fiber crops brought from Old Earth. Although there are several methods, the reproduction of fully-formed clones from cellular plant matter is relatively straightforward; chemical and organic catalysts (usually enzyme-based) increase cellular division until cytoplasmic and organelle volume reaches a critical mass (the G1 phase), whereupon replication of the genetic material (the G2 phase) becomes automatic. Once a number of individual plants have been produced, they are transferred to a standard nursery or into the open, when normal breeding can occur. Although largely supplanted in function by other facilities later, many small cytonurseries continue to operate and contribute.