Cryopreservation of Digitalis obscura selected genotypes by encapsulation-dehydration
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Shoot-tips from several genotypes of the cardenolide-producing perennial shrub Digitalis obscura L. were successfully cryopreserved using the encapsulation-dehydration technique. Precultivation on MS medium containing 0.5 M sucrose, followed by 2.5 h dehydration (final weight 30%) induced shoot regrowth in 42% of cryopreserved shoot-tips. Cold-hardening of the in vitro cultures before sucrose treatment dramatically increased shoot recovery up to 86%. The optimized cryopreservation protocol was then employed using different shoot cultures from five D. obscura genotypes. Responses to cryopreservation depended mainly on the genotype, best results being obtained when shoot tips from HU3 and LL11 were used. Prolonged subcultures reduced proliferation rates in both control and cryopreserved HU3 shoot-tips, whereas long-term storage in LN did not affect the shoot recovery rate of the genotype. RAPID markers were employed to evaluate possible somaclonal variation occurring in shoots regenerated through successive subcultures and after cryo preservation. The band patterns revealed differences between the original parent plant and the shoots grown in vitro, especially after a prolonged subculture (84.9% of matches for HU3 after 16 subcultures vs. 93.4% for AY3 after 2 subcultures). Nevertheless, match percentages were higher (98.6% to 99.5%) when band patterns from subcultured shoots were compared to those obtained from their respective control or frozen progenies indicating that cryopreservation ensure genetic stability of selected Digitalis obscura genotypes.