An elite mother plant
is a 'mother' plant used to provide cuttings (or sometimes seeds) for plant propagation. To create an elite mother plant, a cutting
is taken from a plant whose genotype you want to duplicate. This cutting is rooted and allowed to grow
. It is frequently tested for viruses. In theory, the quick growing plant will grow so fast that the tip of the shoot will be free of viruses. After a while, the top of the new plant is cut off and made into a new plant, and tested extensively for virus
es again. All of this is done in hospital-like sterility, to keep the plant from becoming re-infected. After this process is complete, the resultant plant is free of viruses and cuttings taken from it will also be free of viruses and genetically identical to the mother plant
Elite Mother plants are usually kept for a year, and then discarded. Because the process takes so long, propagation companies will often already have a new mother plant starting up when the original one is being used.