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Freddi A. Hammerschlag, Ghazala Hashmi, Robin Huettel, Dennis Werner, and David Ritchie

One approach for obtaining useful genetic variation is to select for somaclonal variants generated by tissue culture techniques. Increased levels of resistance to bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni) have been observed in toxin-selected and unselected peach regenerants in vitro, in the greenhouse and under field conditions. Peach regenerants have also demonstrated increased levels of bacterial canker (Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae) and root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) resistance. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers have been used to study genetic variation at the DNA level among the somaclonal variants. Sixty RAPD primers (10-mers) were screened and 10 proved useful as markers to detect polymorphisms, thus establishing a genetic basis for somaclonal variation. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of using tissue culture techniques to generate fruit trees with increased levels of disease resistance.