Electrochemical protoplast fusion in citrus
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We report here the development of a novel protoplast fusion method for citrus somatic hybridization. This new procedure, which we have named electrochemical protoplast fusion, is based on chemically induced protoplast aggregation, using a low concentration of polyethylene glycol, and DC \pulse-promoted membrane fusion. Based on the results of nucleus and mitochondria molecular analyses, we were successful in using this method to regenerate both symmetric somatic hybrids and cybrids. Various parameters, including pulse intensity, pulse length, and composition of the fusion media, were tested, and the optimum fusion condition selected consisted of two 100-mu s pulses of 1,500 V cm(-1). Our conclusion is that electrochemical fusion is a reliable and reproducible method that combines the best features of both the chemical and electrical methods, thereby promoting cell division and high embryogenesis rates of the fused cells. It represents a new approach to citrus somatic hybridization. Various interesting features of this new approach are presented and discussed.