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Progress in the Regeneration and Genetic Manipulation of Cereal Crops

Bio/Technologyvolume 6pages397402 (1988) | Download Citation



The economically important cereal and grass crops have generally proved to be notoriously recalcitrant to manipulation in vitro. Regeneration of plants from single cells, a prerequisite for cellular and molecular manipulation, has proven to be especially difficult. Consequently, this group of plants has until recently remained outside the main stream of plant biotechnology. The discovery and exploitation of embryogenic tissue cultures, in which plant regeneration takes place by the formation of embryos from single somatic cells, has led to the development of efficient procedures for plant regeneration in almost all of the important species of grasses, and recovery of mature plants from protoplasts in crops such as maize, rice and sugarcane. These results, along with the success in somatic hybridization and the demonstration of transient as well as stable expression of introduced genes in grass cells and plants, provide challenging opportunities for the genetic manipulation and improvement of this group of food crops. It is argued, however, that a far better understanding of growth, development (including morphogenesis in vitro), physiology and molecular biology/genetics of plants—and continuous dialogue and interaction with plant breeders and geneticists—are required for the effective and useful application of the modern tools of biotechnology to major crop species.

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  1. Department of Vegetable Crops, University of Florida, 511 Bartram Hall West, Gainesville, FL, 32611

    • Indra K. Vasil


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