Vegetative micro-cloning to sustain biodiversity of threatened Moringa species
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Efficient vegetative cloning in vitro requires definition of plant growth regulator regimes for each genotype, and therefore formulation of a uniform culture protocol for a genetically heterogeneous wild or uncultivated plant population is often impossible. The likelihood of cloning a wide array of plant genotypes by avoiding the use of plant growth regulator(s) was explored with Moringa oleifera Lamk., Moringa stenopetala (Baker f.) Cufod, and Moringa peregrina Forssk. ex Fiori tree seedlings. Propagation was achieved by multiple shoot regeneration from the cotyledonary node of decapitated seedlings, followed by axillary shoot growth from single node shoot segments and rooting of excised shoots. All steps were accomplished on basal Murashige and Skoog medium without plant growth regulator supplements. The results revealed competence for generation of multiple shoots from cotyledonary node tissue, stimulated by repeated shoot harvest, in seedlings of all three tree species. Tens of plants per seedling were regenerated in about 4 mo from culture initiation. In a given species clone size was seedling-dependent, which presumably stems from genotypic variability among seedlings in regeneration ability in vitro. By this means the laborious search for a plant growth regulator regime suitable for organogenesis induction and adapted per genotype became redundant, and biodiversity of the seed germplasm could be maintained. The approach ideally suits establishment of clones of wild plants of endangered species, like those of the Moringaceae, species with high ability for producing supplementary shoots, and without the need to add plant growth regulators, including the rooting stage.
KeywordsBiodiversity Cloning Conservation Moringaceae Endangered plant
Contribution from the Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel, No. 110/07. We thank Michael Blecher, for providing Moringa peregrina seeds collected in Ein Gedi nature-reserve, Israel, and Drs. A. Zelcer and E. D. Ungar for helpful comments on the manuscript.
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