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EMBRYONsoMATURE, a project to increase the maturity of maritime pine cotyledonary somatic embryos

The project EMBRYONsoMATURE (2018-2020) entitled "Increasing the maturity of somatic embryos to the level of reference seedlings towards multiplication of elite varieties by artificial seeds in maritime pine" is carried out by FCBA in collaboration with INRAE (UMR BioForA). It benefits from the support of the Regional Council of New Aquitaine (CRNA) within the framework of its "Resourcing Programme" (Grant N°17006494-0741).

EMBRYONsoMATURE, a project to increase the maturity of maritime pine cotyledonary somatic embryosSéquence de développement d'un embryon somatique cotylédonaire (à droite) de pin maritime

Access to an efficient method of vegetative propagation (cloning) of trees or elite families is a necessity to fully disseminate the genetic gain offered by new varieties. FCBA and INRAE have been working closely since 2004 in a specific partnership (renewed in 2019) to develop a promising method for multiplying the embryos contained within each seed: somatic embryogenesis. It has all the characteristics of a process that can be manufactured on an industrial scale. Field trials carried out since 1999 show that somatic seedlings are capable of correctly performing all the phases of normal tree growth and development up to flowering and seed production. However, somatic plants show a lower initial vigour compared to conventional seedlings obtained from seeds. Our molecular studies (in particular Morel 2014's thesis) reveal that this problem may be due to the intrinsic quality of the embryos produced: they are not fully mature, in particular on the basis of protein markers of dehydration (until desiccation) and entry into dormancy. The full maturity of embryos is a prerequisite for moving this promising technology to the pre-development stage via the plant production sector (forest nurseries) and/or via artificial seeds.

Based on this very precise knowledge and in line with recent advances by FCBA and INRAE, this project aims at developing a treatment for increasing the maturity of cotyledonary somatic embryos to the reference level of that of the seed embryo. Available biochemical and molecular markers as well as germination assays will enable monitoring of somatic embryos resulting from different treatments.

Collaboration FCBA, INRAE

XYLOBIOTECH technical support:

In vitro culture (Pierroton site)

Cryopreservation (Pierroton site)

Biochemical and molecular analyses (Orléans site)

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