Read this article to learn about the impact of plant biotechnology in crop improvement.
Plant organ, tissue and cell culture procedures have developed rapidly in the last half-century since the pioneering efforts of Gautheret, White and Nobecourt.
The potential application of the methods of tissue culture are of special significance in crop improvement since conventional methods involve several difficulties, including heterozygosity and a long span between successive generations, hence many investigators are devising methods whereby tissue culture could be fully exploited to improve crop varieties.
The role of tissue culture in crop improvement could be identified in four areas:
(a) As an aid to conventional breeding programme;
(b) As a tool of unconventional breeding programme;
(c) In clonal propagation, and
(d) In obtaining disease-free plants.
Before launching a large-scale programme of crop improvement by tissue culture, it should be ensured that the method is economically viable. Monocotyledonous plant material has never been a favourable system for tissue culture though most crop plants are monocots.
In recent years success has been achieved in growing graminaceous crops in cultures using root, Triticum aestivum; shoot primordia, Sorghum bicolor, mesocotyl segments, Panicum miliaceum; internodes of leaf segments, Saccharum officinarum; anther culture Oryza sativa and endosperm Lolium perenne.
Obtaining embryogenic cultures and regeneration from protoplasts obtained from such cultures are the final steps to achieve crop improvement through plant biotechnological methods. Regeneration from protoplast has been achieved in Pennisetum americanum, Oryza sativa, Triticum duram, Zea mays and several others.