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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00536

Callus, Dedifferentiation, Totipotency, Somatic Embryogenesis: What these Terms Mean in the Era of Molecular Plant Biology?

  • 1University of Szeged, Hungary
  • 2Biological Research Centre (MTA), Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

Recent findings call for the critical overview of some incorrectly used plant cell and tissue culture terminology such as dedifferentiation, callus, totipotency, and somatic embryogenesis. Plant cell and tissue culture methods are efficient means to preserve and propagate genotypes with superior germplasm as well as to increase genetic variability for breading. Besides, they are useful research tools and objects of plant developmental biology. The history of plant cell and tissue culture dates back to more than a century. Its basic methodology and terminology were formulated preceding modern plant biology. Recent progress in molecular and cell biology techniques allowed unprecedented insights into the underlying processes of plant cell/tissue culture and regeneration. The main aim of this review is to provide a theoretical framework supported by recent experimental findings to reconsider certain historical, even dogmatic, statements widely used by plant scientists and teachers such as “plant cells are totipotent” or “callus is a mass of dedifferentiated cells”, or “somatic embryos have a single cell origin”. These statements are based on a confused terminology. Clarification of it might help to avoid further misunderstanding and to overcome potential “terminology-raised” barriers in plant research.

Keywords: Callus, dedifferentiation, plant regeneration, Plant cell and tissue culture, somatic embryogenesis,, terminology, totipotency

Received: 12 Dec 2018; Accepted: 08 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Jian Xu, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Reviewed by:

Kalika Prasad, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Ying Hua Su, Shandong Agricultural University, China  

Copyright: © 2019 Fehér. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Attila Fehér, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary, feher.attila@brc.mta.hu