Telomere Length in Norway Spruce during Somatic Embryogenesis and Cryopreservation
Aronen, Tuija; Virta, Susanna; Varis, Saila (2021)
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Telomeres i.e., termini of the eukaryotic chromosomes protect chromosomes during DNA replication. Shortening of telomeres, either due to stress or ageing is related to replicative cellular senescence. There is little information on the effect of biotechnological methods, such as tissue culture via somatic embryogenesis (SE) or cryopreservation on plant telomeres, even if these techniques are widely applied. The aim of the present study was to examine telomeres of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) during SE initiation, proliferation, embryo maturation, and cryopreservation to reveal potential ageing or stress-related effects that could explain variation observed at SE process. Altogether, 33 genotypes from 25 families were studied. SE initiation containing several stress factors cause telomere shortening in Norway spruce. Following initiation, the telomere length of the embryogenic tissues (ETs) and embryos produced remains unchanged up to one year of culture, with remarkable genotypic variation. Being prolonged in vitro culture can, however, shorten the telomeres and should be avoided. This is achieved by successful cryopreservation treatment preserving telomere length. Somatic embryo production capacity of the ETs was observed to vary a lot not only among the genotypes, but also from one timepoint to another. No connection between embryo production and telomere length was found, so this variation remains unexplained.
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