The Role of Hormones in Promoting and Developing Growth to Select New Varieties in Sterile Culture

  • C. Nitsch
  • M. Godard
Part of the Nato Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 22)


In most plant breeding programs, the possibility of having haploids would allow for more rapid progress. Several procedures for obtaining haploid and homozygous diploid (named “homodiploid”) plants have been described in the literature (Nitzsche and Wenzel, 1977). The use of the in vitro culture technique has proved to be very advantageous in several respects:
  1. (1)

    The number of haploid plants obtained may be essentially unlimited when the technique is properly adapted to the species.Thus it allows maximum combination possibilities of the genomes.

  2. (2)

    In vitro culture is a means to rescue tissues that for various reasons would not grow in nature, therefore making available genotypic combinations which have never been or will never be obtained by normal sexual crosses. For example, when reduction at the meiotic cell level produces a nonviable pollen grain, such pollen grains may be rescued by in vitro culture and may eventually grow into plants showing characters normally unseen in nature. In this regard, it may be noted that “spontaneous mutations” have been observed in plants originating from pollen cultures in a larger number than normally. Therefore, new characters are made available which breeders may judiciously use in their breeding programs.

  3. (3)

    Starting from pollen alone, that is to say the male gametophyte, gives the possibility of studying in a simple system the cytoplasmic effect on a cross. This method can be contrasted with the somatic hybridization technique (Vasil, see Chapter 5), where the new plant has an enriched cytoplasm resulting from the fusion of cytoplasm from the two parents (Gleba, 1978). The pollen plant has the cytoplasmic inheritance reduced to a minimum, less than in a regular cross since the plant obtained originated from only one cell, namely the vegetative pollen cell, with a small cytoplasm rather than one resulting from the fusion of the sperm nucleus with the female zygotic cell. It also allows a new approach for studying the maternal effect. Starting from a plant with cytoplasmic inheritance reduced to a minimum allows the breeder to follow any single effect of cytoplasmic inheritance.

  4. (4)

    Another main advantage of the in vitro culture technique is that it allows the scientist to follow the growth and development of the plant in conditions where it is possible, at any time, to observe, modify, or stop its development. For fundamental research in morphology and biochemistry, this is indeed a very important point, especially since it pertains to the entire period from uninucleate cell level (i.e., from the microspore) to the complete plant.

  5. (5)

    The last but a still very important point is that this tissue culture method is probably the fastest way to obtain homodiploid plants, although not necessarily the cheapest. To date, in all successful cases less than six months have been needed to achieve the goal of obtaining haploid or homodiploid plants starting from a hybrid.



Growth Substance Anther Culture Cold Shock Naphthalene Acetic Acid Chromosome Doubling 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Nitsch
    • 1
  • M. Godard
    • 1
  1. 1.Génétique et Physiologie du Développement des PlantesCentre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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