[MPWG] Dr. Leaman's Question#2
botresearchusa at academicplanet.com
Mon Feb 2 10:27:26 CST 2004
Question 2: When germplasm is selected for tissue culture and mass reproduction of these species, is this done with a knowledge of existing genetic diversity in the species and in the populations from which material is selected?
I ask this question because there are several objectives, not necessarily mutually compatible, and not necessarily serving conservation or long-term sustainable use, that might be a priority in selecting this material in situ, and further along in the process, in selecting the individual seedlings produced ex situ (in tissue culture) that will be added to natural populations
Before I get into the heart of this question, I would remind members of the list that the science of biotechnology is relatively new in comparison to other scientific endeavors. Most of the research in this field during this short period of time has been devoted to members of the animal kingdom and more specifically to that of the human genome. At this point in our juncture most if not all the genes in this genome have been identified and mapped and a more in depth understanding of cloning and manipulation has come about.
This however is not the case within the plant kingdom though similar research has begun, and will eventually catch up provided current efforts are continued. We do currently have tests which enable us to evaluate the genotype, and karyotypes within a given specie. We do not currently have the ability to relate all of these to specific traits however. Research, as it continues will eventually overcome this shortcoming.
With this said, I will proceed to the heart of the question. When we select germplasm for tissue culture, we do perform the tests to evaluate the genetics of that specie. This is done to distinguish one specie from another, and to denote variations within a specie to aid in taxonomic identification. These test also serve to validate successful clones.We do not however have prior knowledge of genotypes in situ.
When we receive germplasm for mass reproduction, we note the genetic profile but do not attempt any gene manipulation for trait selection. We do watch for genetic variations amongst the samples and are careful to represent all types equally. We would never consider mass producing a single genotype exclusively as that would impact the native population. When the seedlings are returned, they are returned to their place of origin and not sent to any other region or country.
This assures us that the genotypes found in a particular region, remain in that region. As for sustainability, an average biotech company can produce on the average of 6,000,000 Stage III plantlets /yr. .I believe there are ample numbers of biotech companies available to have a big impact if they are called on to do so.
I hope this answers the question sufficiently.I will address question # 3 ASAP.
Director of Research
Spring, Texas 77373
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