n Southern African Forestry Journal - Somatic embryogenesis as a tool to capture genetic gain from tree breeding strategies : risks and benefits : creating new germplasm

Volume 2002, Issue 195
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



For clonal testing and ultimate commercialization of selected clonal lines, breeding programmes are reliant on vegetative propagation techniques. Somatic embryogenesis is a propagation technique that has the potential to assist with the deployment of pine clones. By virtue of its amenability to cryopreservation, it offers the opportunity to overcome the constraints associated with conventional vegetative propagation (hedge maturation), which hamper the advancement of clonal forestry in woody tree species. The limitations of somatic embyogenesis in pines include poor induction and maturation frequencies and the potential for somaclonal variation. These restrict the number of families or genotypes that can be processed. Methods of overcoming these restrictions are discussed together with the associated long-term potential of somatic embryogenesis, including genetic engineering and synthetic seed production.

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