Researchers of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Plant Cultivation, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (St. Petersburg) jointly with their colleagues from Germany and Finland have grown up new lines of Solanum cultivated plants via the somatic hybridization method – hybrids of wild species of plants of the Solanum family with cultivars of tomato and potato, that posess new useful properties.
Potato and tomato – the plants that occupy the honorary place in the menu of mankind – belong to the Solanum family. So do multiple wild species inhabiting Mexico, they are inedible, but possess the qualities interesting to selectionists, such as disease and vermin stability, salt-tolerance, psychrotolerance. However, this interest has remained theoretical up to recently: the majority of wild species was reluctant to interbreed with cultivars. Therefore, the researchers of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Plant Cultivation, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (St. Petersburg) jointly with their colleagues from Germany and Finland set about cultivating new Solanum species via the somatic hybridization method.
There exist different methods for introduction of required genes into the cultivated plant’s genome. Genetic engineering which is now much talked about is only one of them and far from being the most important if we recall the centuries-old history of selection. Interbreeding of species and lines, pollination of one plant by the pollen of the other are still used by selectionists. However, such interbreeding, particularly the interspecific interbreeding does not always work well. In the 70s-80s, a new method emerged that allowed to overcome the barrier of non-interbreeding: somatic hybridization.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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