The multibillion dollar micropropagation industry is now well accepted in many countries of the world for commercial propagation of various plant species. Fruits and vegetables are very rich in health-promoting bioactive components. Although significant progress has been achieved in plant tissue culture of horticultural crops to multiply the true-to-type plants all the year around, genetic and epigenetic variations are a concern in commercial micropropagation. This review describes the progress in depth of various aspects micropropagation, clonal fidelity and epigenetic variation in micropropagated horticultural crops achieved at St. John’s Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and in other laboratories. It also deals with different types of molecular markers that was used to study clonal fidelity and DNA methylation and with the possible application of epigenetic variation in the production of micropropagated horticultural crops.
Dr. Samir C. Debnath, P.Ag. is a Research Scientist at the St. John’s Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Newfoundland and Labrador and an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has authored and co-authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals including review papers and book chapters. He has been a keynote speaker and an invited speaker at a number of international and national conferences and meetings, was the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Institute of Agrologists (P.Ag.) and the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal: Scientia Horticulturae. He is the Country Representative for Canada and the Council Member of the International Society for Horticultural Science. His research concerns biotechnology along with conventional method-based value-added small fruit and medicinal plant production, propagation and genetic enhancement. Much of his current work focuses on wild germplasm, antioxidant activity, biodiversity and micropropagation for berry crop improvement using in vitro and molecular techniques combined with conventional methods.