Developing stress tolerant plants through in vitro selection—An overview of the recent progress
Biotic and abiotic stresses impose a major threat to agriculture. Therefore, the efforts to develop stress-tolerant plants are of immense importance to increase crop productivity. In recent years, tissue culture based in vitro selection has emerged as a feasible and cost-effective tool for developing stress-tolerant plants. Plants tolerant to both the biotic and the abiotic stresses can be acquired by applying the selecting agents such as NaCl (for salt tolerance), PEG or mannitol (for drought tolerance) and pathogen culture filtrate, phytotoxin or pathogen itself (for disease resistance) in the culture media. Only the explants capable of sustaining such environments survive in the long run and are selected. In vitro selection is based on the induction of genetic variation among cells, tissues and/or organs in cultured and regenerated plants. The selection of somaclonal variations appearing in the regenerated plants may be genetically stable and useful in crop improvement. This review focuses on the progress made towards the development of stress-tolerant lines through tissue culture based in vitro selection. Plants have evolved many biochemical and molecular mechanisms to survive under stress conditions. The mechanisms of ROS (reaction oxygen species) generation and removal in plants under biotic and abiotic stress conditions have also been reviewed.