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Research article2007Peer reviewedOpen access

Developmental and genetic variation in nuclear microsatellite stability during somatic embryogenesis in pine

Burg K, Helmersson A, Bozhkov P, von Arnold S


Genotypic instability is commonly observed in plants derived from tissue culture and is at least partly due to in vitro-induced stress. In this work, the issues of whether genetic instability induced by in vitro stress varies among families and if genetic instability influences the adaptation to in vitro conditions and embryo development have been addressed. By comparing the stability of four variable nuclear microsatellite loci in embryogenic cultures and zygotic embryos of Pinus sylvestris, a significant difference in genetic stability among families was found. In six out of 10 families analysed, the level of genetic stability was similar between somatic and zygotic embryos. However, for the rest of the families, the mutation rate was significantly higher during somatic embryogenesis. Families showing a low genetic stability during establishment of embryogenic cultures had a higher embryogenic potential than those which were genetically more stable. In contrast, embryo development was suppressed in genetically unstable families. The relatively high mutation rates found for some families might reflect the plasticity of the families to adapt to stress, which is important for widely distributed species such as Pinus sylvestris

Published in

Journal of Experimental Botany
2007, Volume: 58, number: 3, pages: 687-698 Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS