In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 176–187 | Cite as

Evaluating costs for the in vitro propagation and preservation of endangered plants

Invited Review


In vitro methods provide opportunities for propagating and preserving endangered plant species when seed-based methods are not adequate. Such species include those that produce few or no seeds, as well as species with recalcitrant seeds. Tissue culture propagation methods can be used to produce such plants for reintroduction, research, education, display, and commerce. They can also be the basis for tissue banking as a way to preserve genetic diversity when seeds cannot be banked. With some recalcitrant species, embryo banking, a method which also utilizes in vitro culture for recovery germination, is possible. The number of endangered species that will require in vitro methods is estimated to be at least 5,000 worldwide. Further information is needed to identify these species, and the ongoing collection of information into databases on endangered species and recalcitrant species will help provide this. The costs of these methods are higher than for traditional propagation and preservation, but they may be necessary for species under higher threat. The multiplication rate of a culture, as well as the rates of rooting and acclimatization, has a major effect on the number of transfers needed for producing plants or tissue for banking, and improvements that will increase the efficiency of these steps can help lower costs. Further research into factors affecting the growth of tissues in vitro, as well as coordination of efforts among institutions with infrastructure for in vitro work, should facilitate the application of in vitro methods to the endangered species that cannot be propagated or preserved using seeds.


Cost In vitro Ex situ Conservation 


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Copyright information

© The Society for In Vitro Biology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered WildlifeCincinnati Zoo & Botanical GardenCincinnatiUSA

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