Application of somatic embryogenesis for propagation of white ash and white oak trees
Mitchell, Jessica Elaine
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Somatic embryogenesis in vitro propagation systems were used to clonally propagate two significant species of hardwood trees, white ash (Fraxinus americana) and white oak (Quercus alba). North America's native ash resource is threatened by emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire; EAB). Via somatic embryogenesis, we clonally propagated white ash genotypes in vitro that have demonstrated resistance to EAB, by initiating embryogenic cultures from zygotic embryos collected from putatively EAB-resistant trees, potentially eliminating the need to hybridize white ash with EAB-resistant Asian species or to employ gene transfer techniques to produce transgenic trees carrying genes for resistance to EAB. We also demonstrated the ability to clonally propagate white oak in vitro via somatic embryogenesis, and successfully applied a cryostorage and recovery protocol to embryogenic white oak tissues, providing a base system to which a gene transfer techniques could be applied to potentially accelerate production of genetically improved white oak trees.