Are we able to modulate the response of somatic embryos of pines to drought stress?

O. García-Mendiguren, I.A. Montalbán, T. Goicoa, M.D. Ugarte, P. Moncaleán
It is expected that the current context of climate change will lead to environmental variations, thus the tolerance of tree populations to high temperatures and low water availability will be a critical factor to their distribution. Therefore, plant drought tolerance will be a key factor for the plantation success and the natural forestry regeneration. During the last years, drought resistance of woody plants has been an important objective of breeding programs. As well as genetic, epigenetic variation is suggested to contribute to the phenotypic plasticity and adaptive capacity of plants. Pinus radiata D. Don is one of the most widely grown exotic timber species in the world. In the last years, our research team has optimized different stages of somatic embryogenesis process in radiata pine such as initiation, proliferation and maturation. In the latter, we have obtained high amounts of somatic embryos from low amounts of embryogenic tissue in most of the embryogenic lines tested till date. This micropropagation method allows us to obtain a great amount of clonal material and then, to carry out studies to analyse the behaviour of explants under different ex vitro conditions. The analysis of the physiological parameters in plants with different tolerance to abiotic stress could give us valuable information about the mechanisms used by plants to survive under adverse environmental conditions. Our hypothesis is that we are able to modulate the characteristics of the plantlets produced by manipulating the environmental conditions during the somatic embryogenesis process and then, to analyse the different responses to abiotic stresses in these plants. Specifically, we wanted to evaluate if embryogenic tissue initiation is a critical stage to modulate the quality of the plantlets produced at the end of the embryogenic process and then to analyse the drought stress tolerance of the plants produced.
García-Mendiguren, O., Montalbán, I.A., Goicoa, T., Ugarte, M.D. and Moncaleán, P. 2017. Are we able to modulate the response of somatic embryos of pines to drought stress?. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1155:77-84
conifer, epigenetic memory, micropropagation, Pinus radiata, radiata pine, somatic embryogenesis

Acta Horticulturae