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In vitro conservation of American elm (Ulmus americana): potential role of auxin metabolism in sustained plant proliferation

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An efficient procedure for the conservation of mature American elm (Ulmus americana L.) trees that have survived the epidemics of Dutch elm disease and are potential sources of disease resistance is reported. The model utilizes in vitro proliferation of fresh and dormant buds from mature trees for cloning nearly 100 year old American elm trees. The key factors that influenced sustained growth and multiplication included optimization of culture process and auxin metabolism in the source tissue. Blocking the action of endogenous auxins through the addition of antiauxin in the proliferation medium was crucial for high multiplication rate and optimum shoot development. Addition of antiauxin also mitigated the decline in productivity observed with multiple subcultures, which will enable long-term conservation of selected germplasm. The most effective medium for long-term proliferation contained 5.0 µmol/L p-chlorophenoxyisobutyric acid with 2.2 µmol/L benzylaminopurine and 0.29 µmol/L gibberellic acid. Medium with 2.5 µmol/L indole-3-butyric acid was the best for rooting microshoots (89%). Rooted plantlets were readily acclimatized to the greenhouse environment with a 90% survival rate. The strategy developed for American elm will aid in increasing multiplication of resistant clones, facilitate long-term conservation of elite genotypes, and also provide an approach to improve conservation of other endangered tree species.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x2012-022

Publication date: April 14, 2012

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