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Research article2004Peer reviewedOpen access

High stability of nuclear microsatellite loci during the early stages of somatic embryogenesis in Norway spruce

Helmersson A, Von Arnold S, Burg K, Bozhkov PV


Somatic embryos of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) differentiate from proembryogenic masses (PEMs), which are subject to autodestruction through programmed cell death. In PEMs, somatic embryo formation and activation of programmed cell death are interrelated processes. We sought to determine if activation of programmed cell death in PEMs is caused by genetic aberrations during somatic embryogenesis. Based on the finding that withdrawal of auxin and cytokinin induces programmed cell death in PEMs, 1-week-old cell suspensions were cultured in medium either with or without auxin and cytokinin and then transferred to maturation medium containing abscisic acid. We analyzed the stability of three nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) microsatellite markers at successive stages of somatic embryogenesis in two cell lines. There were no mutations at the SSR loci at any of the successive developmental stages from PEMs to cotyledonary embryos, irrespective of whether or not the proliferation medium in which cell suspensions had been cultured contained auxin or cytokinin. The morphologies of plants regenerated from the cultures were similar, although withdrawal of auxin and cytokinin significantly stimulated the yield of both embryos and plants. We conclude, therefore, that the high genetic stability of somatic embryos in Norway spruce is unaffected by the induction of programmed cell death caused by withdrawal of auxin and cytokinin

Published in

Tree Physiology
2004, Volume: 24, number: 10, pages: 1181-1186