, Volume 64, Issue 2-3, pp 185-210

Mutation induction and tissue culture in improving fruits

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Abstract

This review describes in vitro mutation induction methods in fruits and the in vitro selection procedures available for early screening. Results obtained through in vitro mutation techniques, including somaclonal variation, are reviewed and compared with the current achievements and future prospects of transgenic breeding. Plant improvement based on mutations, which change one or a few specific traits of a cultivar, can contribute to fruit improvement without altering the requirements of fruit industry. Induced mutations have well defined limitations in fruit breeding applications, but their possibilities may be expanded by the use of in vitro techniques. Tissue culture increases the efficiency of mutagenic treatments for variation induction, handling of large populations, use of ready selection methods, and rapid cloning of selected variants. Molecular techniques can provide a better understanding of the potential and limitations of mutation breeding e.g. molecular marker-assisted selection, which can lead to the early identification of useful variants. The relatively high number of research reports compared with the low number of cultivars released suggests that mutagenesis in combination with tissue culture is either ineffective or has yet to be exploited in fruits. Positive achievement recorded in other species seem to support the hypothesis that in vitro mutation induction has high potential also for fruit improvement. The possible contribution of a well-pondered and coordinated use of the numerous mutation induction, mutant selection, and field validation procedures available to advances in fruit breeding is discussed.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.