693 Practical Applications of Citrus Protoplast Technology

in HortScience

Citrus protoplast technology has advanced to where several practical applications in variety improvement and plant pathology are routine. We will report on progress in the following areas: somaclonal variation—`Valencia` and `Hamlin' sweet orange protoclones have been selected for improved juice color, higher soluble solids, seedlessness, and altered maturity dates; somatic hybridization for scion improvement—allotetraploid breeding parents have been created from numerous combinations of elite parental material, and are now being used as pollen parents in interploid crosses to produce seedless triploid varieties; somatic hybridization for rootstock improvement—numerous somatic hybrids combining complementary rootstock germplasm are under commercial evaluation and several look promising for wide adaptation, improved disease resistance, and tree size control; transformation—an alternative protoplast-based transformation that utilizes EGFP for selection has been developed; virus resistance assays—a protoplast-based assay is being used to screen varieties and candidate sequences for resistance to citrus tristeza virus at the cell level, saving time and greenhouse space.

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