Canadian Forest Service Publications

Somatic embryogenesis for more effective breeding and deployment of improved varieties in Pinus spp.: bottlenecks and recent advances. 2016. Lelu-Walter, M.-A.; Klimaszewska, K.; Miguel, C.; Aronen, T.; Hargreaves, C.; Teyssier, C.; Trontin, J.-F. Pages 319-365 in Loyola-Vargas, V.M.; Ochoa-Alejo, N., eds. Somatic Embryogenesis: Fundamental Aspects and Applications. Springer International Publishing AG, Cham, Switzerland.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 37117

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Price: $29.95 (

Mark record


Global transition towards a bioeconomy sets new demands for wood supply (bioenergy, biomaterials, biochemicals, etc.), and the forestry sector is also expected to help mitigate climate change by increasing carbon fixation. For increased biomass production, the use of improved, genetically superior materials becomes a necessity, and vegetative propagation of elite genotypes provides a potential delivery mechanism for this. Vegetative propagation through somatic embryogenesis alone or in combination with rooted cuttings obtained from somatic young trees can facilitate both tree breeding (greater selection accuracy and gains, breeding archives of donor material for making crosses after selection) and the implementation of deployment strategies for improved reforestation materials. To achieve these goals, progress in the efficiency of pine somatic embryogenesis biotechnology has been made for a few commercial pine species, and a better understanding has been gained of the molecular mechanisms underpinning somatic and zygotic embryo development.

Plain Language Summary

To increase the amount of forest biomass that is being produced, the researchers have developed a number of techniques, including the use and multiplication of genetically superior trees, notably through somatic embryogenesis. This study provides a snapshot of the breakthroughs and constraints associated with the use of somatic embryogenesis techniques in some commercial pine species.

Somatic embryogenesis is a biotechnology used to multiply (clone) a single seed embryo to obtain a large quantity of somatic embryos that will become plants. Conifer seeds have been cloned in the past; however, researchers have not yet succeeded in triggering somatic embryogenesis in material from mature trees.