When a clone gets big enough, clip a piece (clone) and repeat each time.
What you want to look for is the strongest plants, what I mean is you can tAke 4 clones and you will notice some do better then others.
Some straggle while others thrive, the same clones from the same plant does this.
Choose clones ONLY from the strongest plants.
As far as how many time you can clone , well,i'm on my ............... Too many to remember.
You could always save a mother plant and just take from her too.
Not everyone has enough space to keep mothers. My veg space is small so that is what I do all the time. Like umbra said, it takes a long time to see degradation--I had one strain that I kept going for about 5 years before I saw any degradation in the clones.
probably even more than that.
i always believed in genetic degradation, but now i feel if you keep taking a good cut, from a healthy plant.. i see no reason for it to degrade over time.
had to downgrade my veg area recently. and i struggle to even keep a plant 2 months in there it's so limited (basically life support for my genetics )
so it's been clones of clones of clones for a bit here.. with no noticeable quality decrease.
I've cloned clones for years and years. Like others mentioned clone your best plants to get the best plants. If you veg for several weeks, like I do, you just leave some nicer lower braches that would normally be pruned off until just before flower and you've go perfect clones.
truth here is that we aren't really doing genetic cloning. By taking a branch ffrom a live plant that is in good health is genetically no different than keeping a plant at its healthies state and keeping it in perpetual veg. Unless the plants go through signifficant stresses which could cause genetic anomalies to arrise within the plant's DNA structure to the point that there is degredation off the DNA, the plant will remain the same.
Over a significant length of time, the DNA will naturally degrade due to the age of the DNA itself, and this would lead to the plant becoming weaker, or having a sudden catastrophic failure that could lead to disease and/or quick plant death. But this "natural" degradation is a time variable that is combined with environmental variables, which makes calculating any reasonable liffe span for clones impossible to do.
using a pcr (polymerase chain reaction) where you break the helix and anneal the helix back will produce 2 of the same stand of dna. However the process eventually leads to the wrong sequence of nucleic acids and a slight change in its dna expression. With plants, having the same genetic make up is referred to as a genol type, the environmental effects on a genol type is a phenol type. Certain genes are turned or off by environmental factors, and it is why you can take 10 clones and grow them 10 different ways and have 10 different plants, even though they have the same genes. Abnormal genes still do happen, because cannabis is a diploid and only half of the genetic make up is transferred to a seed. The problem is which genes.
The genetic principal (Theory of relativity :hubba: ) is truely amazing to break down and examine the mechanics of it but the amount variables involved with just MJ is enough to boggle the brain.
But cloning doesn't break the DNA chain, only the branch, so the risk of damage to the DNA in cloning is nill. Unless, the switching of the cells within the the stem from stem building to root building is a result of breaking the DNA. However, I believe the switching of cells from stem to root is actually a subroutine that is already written in the DNA, much like "stem-cells" in humans are able to become any other cell in the human body.