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Somaclonal variation in plants regenerated from cultures of soybean

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Plants were regenerated from embryogenic and organogenic cultures derived from immature embryos of nine soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) genotypes and extensive qualitative variation was noted in different regenerated families. Three lethal sectoral albinos were seen in the regenerated plants (R0). Variants observed in later selfed generations included twin seeds, multiple shoots, dwarfs, abnormal leaf morphology, abnormal leaflet number, wrinkled leaves, chlorophyll deficiency, partial sterility and complete sterility. The frequency of possible mutations ranged from 0 to 4% in R plants as determined by studies of corresponding R1, R2, R3 and R4 families. No significant differences were seen in the frequencies of possible mutations for embryogenic as compared to organogenic culture derived plants. Chlorophyll deficiency, sterility and wrinkled leaf traits were followed in two or more generations and showed that these traits were inherited stably. The known traits of this nature are controlled by single recessive nuclear genes. Other traits occurred more randomly and not in all generations. The genetic basis of the random variation is not known at the present time. This study indicates that heritable somaclonal variation does occur in tissue culture derived plants of soybean.

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R0 :

Original regenerated plant

R1 :

Selfed seeds of R0 plants

R2 :

Selfed seeds of R1 plants

R3 :

Selfed seeds of R2 plants


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Communicated by E. D. Earle

This research was supported by funds from the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station and Agrigenetics Inc.

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Barwale, U.B., Widholm, J.M. Somaclonal variation in plants regenerated from cultures of soybean. Plant Cell Reports 6, 365–368 (1987).

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