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DNA methylation of embryogenic carrot cell cultures and its variations as caused by mutation, differentiation, hormones and hypomethylating drugs

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The level of auxin - both natural and synthetic — in the medium has a strong effect on the level of 5-methyl-cytosine in the DNA of carrot cells in culture. This level may vary from approximately 15% to 70% of total cytosine without apparent effects on growth rate and cell morphology. No effect was seen with cytokinin. During somatic embryogenesis, in the absence of hormones, variations were seen in the level of methylation according to a characteristic pattern. If hypomethylation is induced with drugs such as azacytidine, ethionine or ethoxy-carbonyl-pyrimidine, embryogenesis is immediately blocked. A mutant was isolated which is resistant to the action of hypomethylating drugs. It shows variations in the methylation pattern and variations in indole-acetic acid metabolism. In addition its regeneration is often associated with the production of tumors.

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Communicated by F. Salamini


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LoSchiavo, F., Pitto, L., Giuliano, G. et al. DNA methylation of embryogenic carrot cell cultures and its variations as caused by mutation, differentiation, hormones and hypomethylating drugs. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 77, 325–331 (1989).

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