Plant tissue culture, a fundamental technique of plant biotechnology, has found varied applications in the plant industry. It is an invaluable laboratory technique to study basic aspects of plant growth and development and to manipulate these processes. Decades of reasearch on in vitro morphogenesis has enabled application of plant tissue culture to rapid clonal propagation and conservation of economically important plants. A unique morphogenic phenomenon observed in tissue cultures is the ability of somatic plant cells to form embryos, structurally and functionally similar to seed embryos. Whereas plant scientists found somatic embryogenesis as an excellent system to study physiology, biochemistry and genetics of plant embryogenesis, the foresters and horticulturist look at it as potentially the most suitable system for mass clonal propagation of selected plants.
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