Embryos of Maize (Zea mays)

  • Jakob Reinert
  • Michael Magson Yeoman


The removal and culture of embryos of higher plants was one of the earliest successful techniques in plant tissue and organ culture. P. R. White desribed a simple technique in his book on tissue culture in which embryos removed from the seeds of Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) can be cultured under completely aseptic conditions. Over the years the excised embryos of many species have been brought into culture using relatively simple nutrient media. The advantages of growing an embryo isolated from the rest of the seed, apart from the intrinsic interest in doing so, are to remove the immature plant from the endosperm and/or cotyledon (s) which may in particular cases prevent or modify the development of the plant. This is particularly true, for instance, in the case of sexual hybrids between certain cereals, where the hybrid embryo cannot survive unless removed and cultured in isolation. Studies on the strong metabolic relationships which exist between embryo and endosperm, or embryo and cotyledon(s), are also possible using excised embryos in culture.


Organ Culture Adventitious Root Primary Root Sterile Petri Dish Intrinsic Interest 
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  2. Raghavan, V.: Nutrition, growth and morphogenesis of plant embryos. Biol. Rev. 41 ,1–58 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Rijven, A. H.G.C.: In vitro studies of the embryos of Capsella bursa-pastoris. Acta Bot. Neerl. 1,157–200 (1952)Google Scholar
  4. White, P. R.: The Cultivation of Plant and Animal Cells, 2nd Ed. New York: Ronald Press 1963Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jakob Reinert
    • 1
  • Michael Magson Yeoman
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Pflanzenphysiologie und ZellbiologieBerlin 33Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghGreat Britain

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