Production of plants from tassels grown in tissue culture

Immature tassels (approximately 1 cm) were excised and grown in liquid media as described previously (Polowick, Raman and Greyson, MGCNL 55:116, 1981). Some tassels, if allowed to grow in culture for extended periods of time (longer than 3 weeks), produce plantlets which can be rescued and grown to sexual maturity. Plantlets have been produced in tissue culture from tassels of three cultivars: Oh43 heterozygous tunicate (Tu/+), Oh43 heterozygous waxy (Wx/wx) and S60. The success of plantlet initiation appears to be a function of The duration of culture, the size of the original explant, the genotype and other factors not yet identified. To date 60 plantlets have been isolated from the tassel culture system, some of which have been transferred to a rooting medium (Raman, Walden and Greyson, Ann. Bot. 45:183-189, 1980); 16 others, which produced roots while in the original culture, have been potted directly and transferred to the greenhouse. Of the latter, two plantlets have been brought to flowering, producing both pollen and ear silks. The amount of pollen produced and the absence of aborted pollen grains suggests that these plants are diploid. The morphological origin of these plantlets appears to be vegetative proliferation of the floral tissue with initial leaf formation, followed by subsequent root development. These observations, although preliminary, suggest that the proliferation of plantlets from cultured tassels could eventually be a useful cloning technique.

M. J. Dunlop, R. I. Greyson and L. Olson

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