Medicinal plants are valuable sources of medicinal and many other pharmaceutical products. The conventional propagation method is the principal means of propagation and takes a long time for multiplication because of a low rate of fruit set, and/or poor germination and also sometimes clonal uniformity is not maintained through seeds. The plants used in the phyto-pharmaceutical preparations are obtained mainly from the natural growing areas. With the increase in the demand for the crude drugs, the plants are being overexploited, threatening the survival of many rare species. Also, many medicinal plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate due to rapid agricultural and urban development, uncontrolled deforestation, and indiscriminate collection. Advanced biotechnological methods of culturing plant cells and tissues should provide new means for conserving and rapidly propagating valuable, rare, and endangered medicinal plants. The purpose of the present review is to focus the application of tissue culture technology for in vitro propagation via somatic embryogenesis and organogenesis and the cell suspension culture with suitable examples reported earlier. An overview of tissue culture studies on important Chinese medicinal plants and related species is presented.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2