I. MAHMOOD1,2, A. RAZZAQ1, M. RASHEED1, A. QAYYUM1,3 and M. AHMAD1,4
1 Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Department of Agronomy, Rawalpindi 46300, Pakistan
2 Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Department of Agronomy, Rawalpindi (Khushab Campus)Pakistan
3 University of Haripur, Department of Agriculture Sciences, 22620 Haripur, Pakistan
4 Quaid-i-Azam University, Department of Plant Physiology, Pakistan
MAHMOOD, I., A. RAZZAQ, M. RASHEED, A. QAYYUM and M. AHMAD, 2014. Employment of immature embryo culture for in vitro selection of drought tolerant somaclones of wheat. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 20: 155-161
Drought, a serious threat to world agriculture, demands neo-breeding approaches. Tissue culture being a mutagenic process induces somaclonal variations, which can be manipulated for improving drought tolerance of commercial cultivars of wheat. Present study was conducted to explore potential of somaclonal variation to produce drought tolerant somaclones of wheat. PEG-6000 tolerant calli induced from immature embryos of wheat cv. GA-2002 were screened and regenerated to R0 somaclones. The R0 somaclones were selfed to produce R1 seeds. The progeny of R1 seeds (R1 generation) and their donor parent cv. GA-2002 were raised in pots and compared for drought tolerance by withholding water for 2, 4, 6, and 8 days along with control. Water stress led to reduction of relative water content (RWC), excise leaf water loss (ELWL), leaf succulence and specific leaf weight (SLW), while an increase in ABA content of both R1 somaclones and their parent cv. GA-2002. The R1 somaclones showed significantly greater tendency to conserve RWC, leaf succulence and less ELWL in response to higher regimes of water stress imposed for six or eight days. Similarly, significantly higher ABA contents were accumulated by R1 somaclones than parent cv. GA-2002 in response to water stress of 4, 6 and 8 days. Results from physico-chemical bases of drought tolerance indicated that R1 somaclones had higher drought tolerance than their parent cv. GA-2002 and suggested possibility of in vitro selection of drought tolerant plants of wheat using immature embryo culture.