Plant Regeneration of `Valencia' Sweet Orange, `Femminello' Lemon, and the Interspecific Somatic Hybrid following Protoplasm Fusion

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Fruit Crops, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850

Protoplasm culture following the chemical fusion of `Valencia' sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] protoplasts, isolated from an embryogenic suspension culture, with `Femminello' lemon [Citrus limon (L.) Burro. f.] leaf protoplasts resulted in the regeneration of an interspecific allotetraploid somatic hybrid plant, two autotetraploid lemon plants, and diploid plants from both parents. The regeneration of plants from lemon leaf protoplasts is an example of protoplast-to-plant regeneration from non-nucellus-derived tissue for Citrus. Regenerated plants were classified according to leaf morphology, chromosome number, and analyses of phosphohexose isomerase (PHI), peroxidase (PER), and 6-phosphoglucose dehydrogenase (PGD) zymograms. The somatic hybrid plant was vigorous, with leaves morphologically intermediate to the parents. The tetraploid lemon plants were similar to diploids, although less vigorous and with thicker leaves. The tetraploid lemon and somatic hybrid plants, if fertile, could be used in interploid sexual crosses to breed triploid seedless lemon cultivars with tolerance of mal secco disease from sweet orange. Further investigation of plant regeneration from leaf protoplasts could increase the number of totipotent Citrus clones amenable to somatic hybridization and genetic transformation experiments.

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