In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 85–90 | Cite as

Artificial seeds of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Induction of desiccation tolerance in somatic embryos

  • Tissa Senaratna
  • Bryan D. McKersie
  • Stephen R. Bowley
Plant Cellular and Development Biology


The use of somatic embryos from cell culture systems in the clonal propagation of plants would be greatly facilitated if the somatic embryos could be dried and stored in a dormant state similar to true seeds. A cell culture system was developed for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) line RL34 which gave high yields of somatic embryos in an approximately synchronized pattern. These somatic embryos were treated with abscisic acid (ABA) at the cotyledonary stage of development to induce desiccation tolerance. With no visual preselection, approximately 60% of the dried embryos converted into plants upon reimbibition. When high quality embryos were selected prior to drying, 90 to 100% conversion rates were observed. The timing of the application of ABA in terms of embryo development was critical with an optimum being at cotyledonary stage spanning approximately 4 days; thus, synchronized embryo development is required for optimal expression in bulk samples. The vigor of the seedlings from dried somatic embryos was greater than those from embryos which had not been dried, but remained substantially lower than those from true seeds.

Key words

artificial seeds alfalfa somatic embryogenesis desiccation tolerance 


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Copyright information

© Tissue Culture Association 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tissa Senaratna
    • 1
  • Bryan D. McKersie
    • 1
  • Stephen R. Bowley
    • 1
  1. 1.Crop Science DepartmentUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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