Somaclonal Variation in Crop Improvement

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Abstract

Deterioration of the environment is increasing the levels of abiotic and biotic stress on plant growth. Further expansion of cultivated land has reached a limit. Rapid industrialization and increase in population are causing environmental changes such as depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer, acid rain, erratic weather, insect and pest problems, diseases, global warming, and increase in the ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation level. The adverse environmental impact is gradually leading to reduction in crop production and poses a serious threat to sustained food production. Plant breeders are faced with the challenge to enhance food production for the ever-increasing human population despite the deteriorating environment. So far, conventional plant breeding and crop management practices have enhanced crop production. New approaches and tools are now available to assist plant breeders to improve crops. Plant biotechnology offers new possibilities to sustain agricultural production by offering new opportunities for creating and utilizing genetic variation.