`German Red' is a thermotolerant cultivar of carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) that blooms almost year-round in Texas. This study was initiated to evaluate the feasibility of inducing somatic embryos for use in gene transfer Studies and rapid mass propagation. Internodal explants, obtained from microshoots of plantlets cultured on MS medium containing 5 μM benzyladenine (BA) and 0.5 μM naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), were used to initiate callus. Callus formation was induced on MS medium containing 3% sucrose, 0.1% casein hydrolysate and 2,4-D (1-5 μM) alone or in combination with BA (2 or 4 μM) or kinetin (2 or 4 μM). After about 5 weeks, the callus was transferred to either semisolid or liquid MS basal medium with or without kinetin and BA. Within 20-30 days, pro-embryogenic callus masses were observed. The embryos developed from white embryonic tissue and exhibited typical stages of embryogenesis. After 5 weeks, up to 70% of the cultures grown in the liquid medium with or without BA exhibited a profusion of embryo-like structures. Because only a small percentage of these developed into plantlets, more work is needed to enhance conversion frequency.
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