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Tissue culture

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noun, plural: tissue cultures

(1) The technique of culturing animal or plant tissue in a controlled medium away from the source organism

(2) The biological culture of tissue grown and maintained through this process


Biological cultures are a common laboratory means in order to study living organisms. There are different types of biological cultures, such as cell culture, tissue culture, and organ culture. Cell culture is a biological culture of cells of multicellular eukaryotes. Tissue culture is the cultivation of tissues from multicellular organisms. Organ culture is the cultivation of a part or all of an animal organ in a sterile controlled medium.

Tissue culture is a type of biological culture wherein tissues from an animal or a plant source is grown and maintained in a controlled medium. It may also pertain to the culture itself. Lately, tissue culture and cell culture are used interchangeably. Tissue culture nowadays refers to the more popular technique that uses cells dispersed from tissues or distant descendants of such cells.

Montrose Thomas Burrows, an American pathologist, was the one who coined the term, tissue culture.1


Related term(s):

1 Carrel, Alexis and Montrose T. Burrows “Cultivation of Tissues in Vitro and its Technique”; Journal of Experimental Medicine 13 (1911: 387-96)