Somatic embryogenesis of coniferous plants with Norway spruce as a model for studies
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Somatic embryogenesis is a relatively new method of vegetative propagation of conifers. Many possibilities of its application include: cloning of trees for reforestration and timber production ? varieties resistant to environmental stresses, pests and diseases, as well as valuable ornamental varieties; conservation of rare and endangered species; provision of cell lines and protoplasts for genetic manipulations; germplasm preservation; synthetic seed production and use in basic research on conifer genetics and development. Conifer somatic embryogenesis was first reported in Picea abies (1,2) and Larix decidua, in 1985 (3). Since then this technology has been applied to more than 30 coniferous species from the genera: Abies, Larix, Picea, Pinus, Pseudotsuga, Sequoia, Taxus (4-7). As the general development pattern is similar for many conifers, the protocol of Norway spruce can be used as a model system of somatic embryogenesis in conifers. This protocol can be divided into six stages: 1) induction of embryogenic structures, 2) proliferation of embryogenic cultures, 3) maturation of somatic embryos, 4) embryo desiccation, 5) in vitro germination and conversion, and 6) transfer of emblings to soil (8).
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M.J. Latkowska, Katedra Roslin Ozdobnych, Szkola Glowna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego, ul. Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warszawa, Poland