Micropropagation of Begonia and a study of genome stability in Begonia rex

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Morrish, Fionnuala
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University College Cork
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The development of procedures and media for the micropropagation of B. rex are described. Media for the production of plantlets from a number of other Begonia hybrids are also provided. Growth analysis data is given for plants produced in vivo from leaf cuttings and in vitro from mature leaf petioles and immature leaves derived from singly and multiply recycled axenic plantlets. No significant difference was found in phenotype or quantitative vegetative characters for any of the populations assessed. The results presented from studies on the development of broad spectrum media for the propagation of a number of B. rex cultivars using axenic leaf explants on factorial combinations of hormones illustrate the major influence played by the genotype on explant response in vitro and suggest media on which a range of B. rex cultivars may be propagated. Procedures for in vitro irradiation and colchicine treatments to destabilize the B. rex genome have also been described. Variants produced from these treatments indicate the utility of in vitro procedures for the expression of induced somatic variation. Colour variants produced from irradiation treatment have been cultured and prove stable. Polyploids produced as variants from irradiation treatment have been subcultured but prove unstable. Media for the induction and proliferation of callus are outlined. The influence of callus subculture and aging on the stability of the B. rex genome is assessed by chromosomal analysis of cells, in vitro and in regenerants. The B. rex genome is destabilized in callus culture but attenuation of variation occurs on regeneration. Diploid cell lines are maintained in callus subcultures and supplementation of regenerative media with high cytokinin concentrations, casein hydrolysate or adenine failed to produce variants. Callus aging however resulted in the production of polyploids. The presence and expression of pre-existing somatic variation in B. rex pith and root tissue is assessed and polyploids have been produced from pith tissues cultured in vitro. The stability of the B. rex genome and the application of tissue culture to micropropagation and breeding of B. rex are discussed.
Begonia rex , Micropropagation techniques , Plant tissue culture , Growth media for callus formation
Morrish, F. 1985. Micropropagation of Begonia and a study of genome stability in Begonia rex. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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