Somatic Embryogenesis

What is Somatic Embryogenesis? – Definition

Somatic embryogenesis is the process by which embryo forms and develops from bipolar structures from somatic cells that parallel the developmental path of zygotic embryos.

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Somatic Embryo Development

Generally, somatic embryo develops from single cell. This cell undergoes cell divisions to form a group of meristematic cells. The constituent cells of this group continue to divide to give rise globular, heart shaped, torpedo shaped and cotyledonary stage.

Somatic embryos may be primary (regenerate from explant / callus) or secondary (regenerate from the tissues of other somatic embryos or a part of generating somatic embryo.)

Important phases of Somatic Embryogenesis

  • Development phase – Somatic embryo develops from a group of meristematic cells undergoing through globular, heart shaped, torpedo shaped and cotyledonary stage.
  • Conversion phase – Immediately after cotyledonary stage, somatic embryo germinates, this is the conversion phase. But most of the times plantlets obtained from immediate germination are weak.
  • Maturation phase – Instead of undergoing germination, somatic embryos undergo biochemical changes and become hardy.

Factors affecting Somatic Embryogenesis

  • Growth hormones
  • Genotype of explant
  • Form of source nitrogen
  • Concentration of some other substances like sucrose, ethanol and maltose.

Applications of Somatic Embryogenesis

  • Clonal propagation of genetically uniform plant material
  • Elimination of viruses
  • Synthesis of metabolite.
  • In genetic transformation it provides source tissue
  • Synthesis of artificial seeds.
  • Generation of whole plants from single cells called protoplasts