Tissue Culture

Overview

Tissue culture is the growth of tissues or cells separate from the organism. This is typically facilitated via use of a liquid, semi-solid, or solid growth medium, such as broth or agar. Specifically, plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium of known composition. Plant tissue culture is widely used to produce clones of a plant in a method known as micropropagation. Different techniques in plant tissue culture may offer certain advantages over traditional methods of propagation, including:

  • The production of exact copies of plants that produce particularly good flowers, fruits, or have other desirable traits.
  • To quickly produce mature plants.
  • The production of multiples of plants in the absence of seeds or necessary pollinators to produce seeds.
  • The regeneration of whole plants from plant cells that have been genetically modified.
  • The production of plants in sterile containers that allows them to be moved with greatly reduced chances of transmitting diseases, pests, and pathogens.
  • The production of plants from seeds that otherwise have very low chances of germinating and growing, i.e.: orchids and Nepenthes.
  • To clean particular plants of viral and other infections and to quickly multiply these plants as 'cleaned stock' for horticulture and agriculture.

Plant tissue culture relies on the fact that many plant cells have the ability to regenerate a whole plant (totipotency). Single cells, plant cells without cell walls (protoplasts), pieces of leaves, stems or roots can often be used to generate a new plant on culture media given the required nutrients and plant hormones.

Projects
2009
Double haploids are plants developed from either a male or female gamete, n=1 cell, and therefore are completely homozygous at all loci. Because all traits are visible within one generation, this methodology adds speed and efficiency to breeding programs. The goal of our research is to improve all aspects of the field pea anther culture protocol including: increasing the number of immature pollen grains initiated to become embryogenic, improving the regeneration of haploid embryos, and regenerating plants from those embryos.
2009
In many important crop species, the strategy of single seed descent (SSD) enables only 2 - 3 generations per year. Approximately eight generations of inbreeding are required before plants are mostly homozygous (‘true breeding’). This creates a ‘bottleneck’ in cultivar development. Hence, the purpose of this project is to develop a rapid generation cycling technique for CDC pulse crops in order to speed up the breeding process by using in vitro flowering technique.