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Somatic embryogenesis as a tool for reproduction of genetically stable plants in banana and confirmatory field trials


Somatic embryogenesis is an important tool for crop improvement through transgenic approach and even for gene editing. It has been hypothesized regularly for large-scale propagation of banana which necessitates basic data on genetic fidelity and field performance of the plants towards ensure the commercial feasibility of the technique. Plantlets regenerated from embryogenic cell suspension (ECS) cultures established using immature male flower buds were examined for genetic fidelity using Inter Simple Sequence Repeats (ISSR) markers. Results showed that the primers UBC 808, UBC 811 and UBC 841 each generated one polymorphic band with an overall variation in banding pattern of 3.34 and 2.09% in cvs. Grand Naine and Rasthali respectively. Field evaluation of the ECS derived plants showed that there were no negative effects on the vegetative and yield parameters. Remarkably no phenotypic off-types were observed in this field trial. The level of genetic variation observed in this study is not an obstacle for further uptake of this novel propagation technique.

Key message

Field performance of ECS derived plants being on par with shoot tip cultured plants concludes that somatic embryogenesis could be successfully employed for commercial propagation of banana plantlets.

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Authors thank the farmer Mr. Amayaraj for providing land to carry out the field trial at Theni district, Tamilnadu, India. Authors gratefully acknowledge the Director, ICAR- NRCB- Trichy for providing the laboratory facilities to carry out the research.

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SU, MK, and SB designed the experiment. SU, MK, MSS and SB collected plant samples from in- vitro culture condition. SU, MK, PD and RK collected field data. All authors had written the manuscript. SU, SB and MSS monitored the Research. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Subbaraya Uma.

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Uma, S., Kumaravel, M., Backiyarani, S. et al. Somatic embryogenesis as a tool for reproduction of genetically stable plants in banana and confirmatory field trials. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 147, 181–188 (2021).

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  • Genetic fidelity
  • Field performance
  • Agronomic traits
  • Tissue culture
  • Field evaluation