The stability, both genetic and phenotypic, of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivar Desiree plants derived from alternative propagation methodologies has been compared. Plants obtained through three clonal propagation routes-axillary-bud-proliferation, microtuberisation and a novel somatic embryogenesis system, and through true potato seeds (TPS) produced by selfing were evaluated at three levels: gross phenotype and minituber yield, changes in ploidy (measured by flow cytometry) and by molecular marker analysis [measured using AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism)]. The clonally propagated plants exhibited no phenotypic variation while the TPS-derived plants showed obvious phenotypic segregation. Significant differences were observed with respect to minituber yield while average plant height, at the time of harvesting, was not significantly different among plants propagated through four different routes. None of the plant types varied with respect to gross genome constitution as assessed by flow cytometry. However, a very low level of AFLP marker profile variation was seen amongst the somatic embryo (3 out of 451 bands) and microtuber (2 out of 451 bands) derived plants. Intriguingly, only AFLP markers generated using methylation sensitive restriction enzymes were found to show polymorphism. No polymorphism was observed in plants regenerated through axillary-bud-proliferation. The low level of molecular variation observed could be significant on a genome-wide scale, and is discussed in the context of possible methylation changes occurring during the process of somatic embryogenesis.
- Plant Shoots
- Plant Tubers
- Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
- Reproduction, Asexual
- Solanum tuberosum