Conservation of Biodiversity Through Tissue culture
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. Plant tissue culture comprises a set of in vitro techniques, methods and strategies that are part of the group of technologies called plant biotechnology. Tissue culture has been exploited to create genetic variability from which crop plants can be improved, to improve the state of health of the planted material and to increase the number of desirable germ plasms available to the plant breeder. Tissue-culture protocols are available for most crop species, although continued optimization is still required for many crops, especially cereals and woody plants. Tissue culture techniques, in combination with molecular techniques, have been successfully used to incorporate specific traits through gene transfer. In vitro techniques for the culture of protoplasts, anthers, microspores, ovules and embryos have been used to create new genetic variation in the breeding lines, often via haploid production. Cell culture has also produced somaclonal and gametoclonal variants with crop-improvement potential. The culture of single cells and meristems can be effectively used to eradicate pathogens from planting material and thereby dramatically improve the yield of established cultivars. Large-scale micropropagation laboratories are providing millions of plants for the commercial ornamental market and the agricultural, clonally-propagated crop market. With selected laboratory material typically taking one or two decades to reach the commercial market through plant breeding, this technology can be expected to have an ever increasing impact on crop improvement as we approach the new millenium.