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Evaluation of drought resistance-related traits in durum wheat somaclonal lines selected in vitro

M. Bajji, P. Bertin, S. Lutts and J-M. Kinet

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 44(1) 27 - 35
Published: 27 February 2004


Somaclonal variation associated with in vitro selection has been used as a source of variability to improve drought resistance of 3 durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) cultivars (Selbera, Sebou, and Kyperounda). In a previous study, R0 plants with improved drought resistance-related characters were regenerated after selection on culture media containing polyethylene glycol (PEG). This improvement was transmitted to the R1 progeny. The present study analysed the behaviour of the selected tissue culture-derived lines in subsequent R2, R3 and R4 generations. Differences in electrolyte leakage, chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm), stomatal conductance and days to heading were found between the parental cultivars and most of their in vitro-derived lines. The changes may differ from one cultivar to another. Many promising somaclonal lines still presented improvement for at least 3 of the 4 parameters measured comparatively to initial cultivars. Somaclonal variation thus appears to induce a wide range of modifications among individual components of drought-resistance mechanisms. These improved traits could be valuable if shown to be inherited and to give enhanced agronomic performances in future field studies.

© CSIRO 2004

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