Aglaonema, Araceae, is one of the most important ornamental foliage plant genera due to its attractive foliar variegation and tolerance to low light conditions (Chen et al., 2002). The genus has ≈23 species that are herbaceous evergreens native to tropical and subtropical regions of southeast Asia, northeastern India, across southern China, and into Indonesia and New Guinea (Govaerts and Frodin, 2002; Kew Garden, 2015). ‘Valentine’ is a new attractive hybrid from Thailand with beautiful pink and green random blotches. Commercial Aglaonema propagation almost exclusively starts from cuttings and by dividing the basal shoots. However, traditional propagation using cuttings sometimes transmits pathogens such as fungal, bacterial and viral diseases from stock plants to cuttings (Chase, 1987). In addition, some Aglaonema cultivars may host endogenous pathogens in their vascular tissue (Chase, 1997), which could make cuttings a source for carrying and spreading diseases. Subsequently, tissue culture is considered the best method to get stock aroids free from endogenous contaminations (Elsheikh et al., 2013; Taylor and Knauss, 1978).
In vitro propagation methods are used for production of ornamental plants to meet the growing demand in both the domestic and the export market. So, the use of tissue culture technique in vegetatively propagated Aglaonema is an alternative method to obtain rapid clonal multiplication. However, the difficulty of establishing or maintaining aseptic culture (Chen and Yeh, 2007) and low rate of shoot multiplication (Chen and Yeh, 2007; Zhang et al., 2004) are definite factors in tissue culture of Aglaonema plant. The previous studies showed that average shoot number depends on the cultivar and protocol (Chen and Yeh, 2007; Fang et al., 2013; Mariani et al., 2011; Zhang et al., 2004). Aglaonema ‘Valentine’ is slow growing in greenhouse and has a low rate of shoot multiplication in tissue culture. Plant growth regulators (PGRs), especially cytokinins, are crucial for shoot multiplication in aroids including Aglaonema (Chen and Yeh, 2007), Dieffenbachia maculata (G. Lodd.) and Dieffenbachia amoena WB (Elmahrouk et al., 2006), and Spathiphyllum cannifolium Engl. (Dewir et al., 2006). In vitro plant propagation methods have been developed for some Aglaonema cultivars, including White Tip (Chen and Yeh, 2007), Cochin (Mariani et al., 2011), and Lady Valentine (Fang et al., 2013). However, previous reports on the micropropagation of Aglaonema did not determine the homogeneity among the regenerated plantlets.
In recent years, clonal fidelity assessment of the micropropagated plants was carried out using multiple means such as cytology, morphology, protein marker, and DNA-based molecular markers. Therefore, DNA markers have been reported as an important tool to evaluate the genetic homogeneity and true-to-type nature of micropropagated plants (Cheruvathur et al., 2013). Among them, RAPD is a convenient method for analyzing genetic fidelity (Williams et al., 1990). The previous reports have mentioned that RAPD-based detection of genetic polymorphism has been successful in describing somaclonal variability or homogeneity of micropropagated individuals of numerous plant species (Cheruvathur et al., 2013; Haque and Ghosh, 2013; Kumar et al., 2013).
The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of different types and concentrations of cytokinins alone or in combination with auxins on in vitro regeneration of Aglaonema ‘Valentine’. RAPD marker was employed to confirm genetic fidelity of the regenerated plantlets.
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