What is Micropropagation?

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Micropropagation

Vegetative propagation of normal plants is costly, labour-intensive and seasonal. It also results in low productivity. Besides, plant propagation through tissue culture method is called micropropagation.

Micropropagated plants are free from viruses, and show increased productivity and yield. G. Morel (1960) first realised the application of shoot apex cultures for clonal multiplication of plants. Smith and Murashige (1970) cultured apical meristem without any leaf primordia on a defined medium and produced complete plantlets.

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For micropropagation, apical shoots, auxiliary buds and meristematic tissue are placed on suitable defined medium. This technique is rapid and has been commercialised for rapid propagation of plants viz., apple, strawberry, banana, cardamom, ornamental plants (e.g. orchids, Gladiolus, Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, eucalyptus, etc.).

Micropropagation revolutionised the orchid trade and floriculture industry globally. Using tissue culture method molecular farming of several pharmaceutical compounds (e.g. vaccines, antibiotics, therapeutic proteins, etc.) has been started.

It shows different stages of micropropagation of a critically endangered plant, Ratanjot (Arnebia benthamii) which is a high value medicinal plant of the Himalaya. Different steps of micropropagation have been described.

Now, micropropagation technology is being used most extensively in horticulture and forestry for rapid propagation of trees. Moreover, efforts have been made to develop automated and more efficient methods for production of transplants.

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Since 1989, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology (Government of India) has been initiating the major network programmes on micropropagation in different states. Protocols for micropropagation of over 60 plants have been developed by the DBT.

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