Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 147–173 | Cite as

Somaclonal variation in plants: causes and detection methods

  • Michael W. Bairu
  • Adeyemi O. Aremu
  • Johannes Van Staden
SI : Tissue Culture


Plant tissue culture has become one of the fundamental tools of plant science research. It is extensively employed in the production, conservation and improvement of plant resources. The presence of somaclonal variation in populations derived from tissue culture is affecting the use of tissue culture negatively and has remained a major problem. Conversely, it is a source of new desirable clones/variants with better agronomic traits. In this review, we summarize the possible causes, detection methods and desirability of variants. Somaclonal variation is one of the most researched and reviewed topics. Hence, we restricted ourselves to outlining various examples which may be used as important references for researchers who intend to identify and/or characterize somaclonal variants while using tissue culture for research and production. Emphasis is placed on the negative effects of somaclonal variation. However, this review also includes examples of some useful variants generated as a result of somaclonal variation.


Cell and tissue culture Cell cycle Chimeras Chromosome aberration Cryptic transposable elements Induced variation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Bairu
    • 1
  • Adeyemi O. Aremu
    • 1
  • Johannes Van Staden
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Biological and Conservation SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal PietermaritzburgScottsvilleSouth Africa

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