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High throughput in vitro production of somatic embryoswith innovative cryo cell banking system

Horticulture International Journal
Weiming Wang, La Shaun Sanders, Alice Perry, Ebonee Duncan


ArborGen Inc. was originally created as a partnership for forestry research in 2000 by West Rock (MWV), International Paper and Rubicon (Fletcher Challenge). It now produces the largest number of both conventional and advanced genetic tree seedlings in the world. Among its advanced genetics offerings, varietals have the highest level of genetic traits in yield and timber quality such as height, diameter growth, disease resistance and etc. To scale up varietals, in vitro process named somatic embryogenesis (SE) is used as a mean to mass propagate SE seedlings.

Over the years of R&D efforts, we recognized that a key challenge for scale-up is the lack of a stable and predictable bioprocess platform. The primary causes that impact stability and predictability include a challenge to receive consistent supplies of good starting cell materials, the risk of somaclonal variation due to long term exposure tomaintenance media containing hormones and risk of contamination or loss from environmental fluctuations. Accordingly our SE R&D program has been targeted to develop a robust bioprocess platform to reduce these variabilities. One of our major achievement is the development of a cell banking (CB) system, which provides high quality starting cell materials for SE production. The cell banking system includes the creations of research cell banks (RCB) and master cell banks (MCB). After the cell banks are created, the banked cells are tested and validated for their qualification for embryo production.

Currently, we successfully integrated the cell banking technology into somatic embryo production in a number of economically important tree species and crops, such as pine, spruce, sweetgum, sugarcane, avocado and banana. With the SE&CB platform, the somatic embryo & somatic seedling yields are consistent, predictable and are produced cost-efficiently on a commercial scale.


somatic embryogenesis, cryopreservation and cell bank