Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 443–455 | Cite as

Heritable somaclonal variation in wheat

  • P. J. Larkin
  • S. A. Ryan
  • R. I. S. Brettell
  • W. R. Scowcroft


Efficient tissue culture and regeneration methods were established using immature wheat embryos as expiants. Genotype differences in culturability were evident, and from the ten accessions most amenable to culture, a total of 2,846 plants were regenerated. Extensive somaclonal variation for morphological and biochemical traits was observed among 142 regenerants of a Mexican breeding line, ‘Yaqui 50E’, and their progeny. Variant characters included height, awns, tiller number, grain colour, heading date, waxiness, glume colour, gliadin proteins and α-amylase regulation. The variant characters were heritable through two seed generations and included traits under both simple and quantitative genetic control. Segregation data suggested that mutations both from dominance to recessiveness, and from recessiveness to dominance, had occurred. Most mutations in the primary regenerants were in the heterozygous state but some were true-breeding and presumed to be homozygous. Chromosome loss or addition did not account for the variation and none of the variant phenotypes was observed in over 400 plants from the parental seed source. The distinctive parental gliadin pattern was maintained in the somaclones thus excluding seed contamination or cross-pollination as a source of the variation.

Key words

Somaclonal variation Wheat tissue culture Gliadin Wheat breeding Mutants 



2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid


2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid


indole acetic acid


6-benzyl amino purine


abscisic acid


gibberellic acid


days after planting


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahloowalia BS (1982) Plant regeneration from callus culture in wheat. Crop Sci 22:405–410Google Scholar
  2. Ahuja PS, Pental D, Cocking EC (1982) Plant regeneration from leaf base callus and cell suspensions of Triticum aestivum. Z Pflanzenzücht 81:139–144Google Scholar
  3. Bayliss MW (1980) Chromosomal variation in plant tissue in culture. Int Rev Cytol (Suppl) 11A:113–144Google Scholar
  4. Bennici A, D'Amato F (1978) In vitro regeneration of durum wheat plants. 1. Chromosome numbers of regenerated plantlets. Z Pflanzenzucht 81:305–311Google Scholar
  5. Bradbury D, Cull IM, McMasters HM (1956) Structure of the mature wheat kernel. Cereal Chem 33:329–391Google Scholar
  6. Chaleff RS (1981) Genetics of higher plants; applications of cell culture. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Chin JC, Scott KJ (1977) Studies on the formation of roots and shoots in wheat callus cultures. Ann Bot 41:473–481Google Scholar
  8. Cure WW, Mott RL (1978) A comparative anatomical study of organogenesis in cultured tissues of maize, wheat and oats. Physiol Plant 42:91–96Google Scholar
  9. De Paepe R, Bleton D, Gnangbe F (1981) Basis and extent of genetic variability among doubled haploid plants obtained by pollen culture in Nicotiana sylvestris. Theor Appl Genet 59:177–184Google Scholar
  10. De Cros DL, Wrigley CW (1979) Improved electrophoretic methods for identifying cereal varieties. J Sci Food Agric 30:785–793Google Scholar
  11. Dudits D, Nemet G, Haydu Z (1975) Study of callus growth and organ formation in wheat tissue cultures. Can J Bot 53:957–963Google Scholar
  12. Eapen S, Rao PS (1982) Plant regeneration from callus cultures of ‘Durum’ and ‘Emmer’ wheat. Plant Cell Rep 1:215–218Google Scholar
  13. Edallo S, Zucchinali C, Perenzin M, Salamini F (1981) Chromosomal variation and frequency of spontaneous mutation associated with in vitro culture and plant regeneration in maize. Maydica 26:39–56Google Scholar
  14. Gosch-Wackerle G, Avivi L, Galun E (1979) Induction, culture and differentiation of callus from immature rachises, seeds and embryos of Triticum. Z Pflanzenphysiol 91:267–278Google Scholar
  15. Hibberd KA, Green CE (1982) Inheritance and expression of lysine plus threonine resistance selected in maize tissue culture. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79:559–563Google Scholar
  16. Ho THD, Shih SC, Kleinhofs A (1980) Screening for barley mutants with altered hormone sensitivity in their aleurone layers. Plant Physiol 66:153–157Google Scholar
  17. Hoffmann F, Thomas E, Wenzel G (1982) Anther culture as a breeding tool in rape. 2. Progeny analyses of androgenetic lines and induced mutants from haploid cultures. Theor Appl Genet 61:225–232Google Scholar
  18. Holliday R (1964) A mechanism for gene conversion in fungi. Genet Res 5:282–304Google Scholar
  19. Jones BL, Lookhart GL, Hall SB, Finney KF (1982) Identification of wheat cultivars by gliadin electrophoresis: electrophoregrams of the 88 wheat cultivars most commonly grown in the United States in 1979. Cereal Chem 59:181–188Google Scholar
  20. Kempthorne O (1957) An introduction to genetic statistics. Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Klein HT, Petes TD (1981) Intrachromosomal gene conversion in yeast. Nature 289: 144–148Google Scholar
  22. Larkin PJ (1982) Sugarcane tissue and protoplast culture. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Culture 1:149–164Google Scholar
  23. Larkin PJ, Scowcroft WR (1981) Somaclonal variation — a novel source of variability from cell cultures for plant improvement. Theor Appl Genet 60:197–214Google Scholar
  24. Larkin PJ, Scowcroft WR (1983) Somaclonal variation and crop improvement. In: Kosuge T, Meredith C, Hollaender A (eds) Genetic engineering of plants. Plenum Press, New York, pp 289–314Google Scholar
  25. Lupi MC, Bennici A, Baroncelli S, Gennai D, D'Amato F (1981) In vitro regeneration of durum wheat plants. 2. Diplontic selection in aneusomatic plants. Z Pflanzenzücht 87:167–171Google Scholar
  26. McCoy TJ, Phillips RL, Rines HW (1982) Cytogenetic analysis of plants regenerated from oat (Avena sativa) tissue cultures; high frequency of partial chromosome loss. Can J Genet Cytol 24:37–50Google Scholar
  27. McIntosh RA (1973) A catalogue of gene symbols for wheat. In: Sears ER, Sears LMS (eds) Proc 4th Int Wheat Genet Symp. University of Missouri, Columbia, pp 893–937Google Scholar
  28. McVittie JA, Gale MD, Marshall GA, Westcott B (1978) The intra-chromosomal mapping of the ‘Norin 10’ and ‘Tom Thumb’ dwarfing genes. Heredity 40:67–70Google Scholar
  29. Mecham DK, Kasarda DD, Qualset CO (1978) Genetic aspects of wheat gliadin proteins. Biochem Genet 16:831–853Google Scholar
  30. Mikus MD, Petes TD (1982) Recombination between genes located on non-homologous chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics 101:369–404Google Scholar
  31. Murashige T, Skoog F (1962) A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 15:473–497Google Scholar
  32. Nakamura C, Keller WA (1982) Plant regeneration from inflorescence cultures of hexaploid Triticale. Plant Sci Lett 24:275–280Google Scholar
  33. O'Hara JF, Street HE (1978) Wheat callus culture: the initiation, growth and organogenesis of callus derived from various expiant sources. Ann Bot 42:1029–1038Google Scholar
  34. Ozias-Akins P, Vasil IK (1982) Plant regeneration from cultured immature embryos and inflorescences of Triticum aestivum L. (wheat): evidence for somatic embryogenesis. Protoplasma 110:95–105Google Scholar
  35. Schaeffer GW (1982) Recovery of heritable variability in anther-derived doubled-haploid rice. Crop Sci 22:1160–1164Google Scholar
  36. Scowcroft WR, Larkin PJ (1983) Somaclonal variation, cell selection and genotype improvement. In: Robinson CW, Howell HJ (eds) Comprehensive biotechnology, vol 3. Pergamon Press, Oxford (in press)Google Scholar
  37. Sears RG, Deckard EL (1982) Tissue culture variability in wheat; callus induction and plant regeneration. Crop Sci 22:546–550Google Scholar
  38. Shapiro JA, Cordell B (1982) Eukaryotic mobile and repeated genetic elements. Biol Cell 43:31–54Google Scholar
  39. Shepard JF (1981) Protoplasts as sources of disease resistance in plants. Ann Rev Phytopathol 19:145–166Google Scholar
  40. Shimada T (1978) Plant regeneration from the callus induced from wheat embryo. Jpn J Genet 53:371–374Google Scholar
  41. Shimada T, Sasakuma T, Tsunewaki K (1969) In vitro culture of wheat tissues. 1. Callus formation, organ redifferentiation and single cell culture. Can J Genet Cytol 11:294–304Google Scholar
  42. Shimada T, Yamada Y (1979) Wheat plants regenerated from embryo cell cultures. Jpn J Gen 54:379–385Google Scholar
  43. Sibi M (1976) Genetic program in higher plants. 2. Experimental aspect. Production of variants by in vitro tissue culture of Lactuca sativa L. increase in vigor in out-crosses. Ann Amelior Plant 26:523–547Google Scholar
  44. Worland AJ, Law CN, Shakoor A (1980) The genetical analysis of an induced height mutant in wheat. Heredity 45:61–71Google Scholar
  45. Wrigley CW (1970) Protein mapping by combined gel electrofocusing and electrophoresis: application to the study of genotypic variations in wheat gliadins. Biochem Genet 4:509–516Google Scholar
  46. Wrigley CW, Shepherd KS (1974): Identification of Australian wheat cultivars by laboratory procedures: examination of pure samples of grain. Aust J Exp Agric Anim Husb 14:796–804Google Scholar
  47. Yurkova GN, Levenko BA, Novozhilov OV (1981) Induction of plant regeneration in wheat tissue culture. Biochem Physiol Pflanz 176:236–243Google Scholar
  48. Yurkova GN, Levenko BA, Novozhilov PV (1982) Plant regeneration in wheat tissue culture. Biochem Physiol Pflanz 177:337–344Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Larkin
    • 1
  • S. A. Ryan
    • 1
  • R. I. S. Brettell
    • 1
  • W. R. Scowcroft
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations