Somaclonal Variation

  • M. R. Ahuja
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 24-26)


Genetic variability is an essential component of plant breeding and improvement programs. This variability is naturally generated in the living organisms via recombinational events and spontaneous mutations. A number of physical and chemical agents have been employed to enhance the extent of genetic variation. Genetic variability has also been detected in cultured plant cells. Tissue culture-associated variation (termed somaclonal variation) has been observed in morphological and biochemical characteristics, and in chromosome number and structure (14, 21, 38, 46, 55). Variation in chromosome numbers has been frequently observed in long-term plant cell cultures. This chromosome variation was subsequently shown to be recoverable in the regenerated plants, and seemingly offered a new source of genetic variation for plant improvement, particularly for vegetatively propagated crops, such as sugarcane (23, 28), and potato (42). Recent studies on tomato (19), rice (41, 52), and wheat (30) have revealed that variant characteristics expressed in the in vitro plants are transmitted to the progenies of sexually propagated crops. The recovery of single gene mutations in tomato (19) and wheat (30) have paved the way for exploitation of cell culture as a tool for introduction of genetic variation in seed propagated plants.


Chromosome Number Forest Tree Callus Culture Anther Culture Somaclonal Variation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1987

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  • M. R. Ahuja

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