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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jun 7;91(12):5222-6.

Genetic instability of plant tissue cultures: breakdown of normal controls.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108.


Plants regenerated from relatively undifferentiated callus cultures possess a vast array of genetic changes. Such variations can result in useful agricultural and horticultural products. For other purposes, however, variations in traits other than those of interest may be undesirable--for example, using cultured cells for genetic engineering. Any steps made toward understanding the basis of tissue culture-induced genetic variation should be helpful in developing a more stable and manipulatable somatic cell system. This review provides a glimpse at the specific kinds of genetic changes encountered among regenerated plants and their progeny. Included among these variations are cytosine methylation alterations of the genome. The repeat-induced point mutation (RIP) phenomenon, reported for filamentous fungi, is invoked to provide a framework to consider the origin of variation in plant tissue cultures.

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