This is the first report of simultaneous organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in Arnebia euchroma, a highly valued, critically endangered medicinal plant of the Himalaya. Root-derived callus showed only rhizogenesis, whereas leaf-derived callus showed simultaneous organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis. Organogenesis was optimal (12.2 shoots per culture) in 1 μM indole-3-butyric acid combined with 2.5 μM 6-benzyladenine and induction of somatic embryogenesis (16.3 embryos per culture) occurred in 2.5 μM indole-3-butyric acid combined with 2.5 μM 6-benzyladenine. Shoots rooted (100%) best in half-strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 2.0 μM indole-3-butyric acid. Early cotyledonary-stage embryos encapsulated with 3% sodium alginate and calcium nitrate (100 mM for 25 min) showed 60.6% germination in MS medium. Rooted shoots transferred to a mixture of sterile soil, sand, and peat (1:1:1 by volume) showed 72% survival ex vitro. Application of these protocols would be helpful in reducing pressure in natural populations, in genetic transformation studies, and in long-term storage of elite genotypes through synthetic seed production.
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