Towards artificial seeds from microspore derived embryos of Brassica napus

  • Mohammed Cassim Mohammed IqbalEmail author
  • Christian Möllers


Microspore derived embryos are haploid and their immediate diploidization generates doubled haploid homozygous plants, whereas a normal breeding process would take 7–8 generations to attain homozygosity. However, the flexibility available in conventional seeds—storage, transport, variable planting time, and handling—is not possible with microspore derived embryos in breeding programs; they are continuously growing from induction of embryogenesis to planting in the soil, without a pause. Artificial seed technology can by-pass the expensive and time-consuming process of acclimatizing and loss of in vitro derived embryos in the green house. The doubled haploid technology in Brassica species has advanced considerably on many fronts—reliable induction of embryogenesis, in vitro diploidization, desiccation and conversion of embryos to plantlets. Although microspore derived embryos are bipolar, they are not considered within the scheme of artificial seeds. The development of artificial seeds in brassica, however, needs the input from other biotechnologies to develop vigorous embryos capable of conversion to plants. It is now necessary for empirical research on microspore derived embryos of Brassica to expand the applications available to the plant breeder by including the biotechnologies of encapsulation and embryo priming to develop artificial seeds. The objective of this review is to draw the attention of researchers to make the transition from microspore-derived embryos to artificial seeds in Brassica crop species, by bringing together relevant studies from the relevant biotechnologies. This would expand the present scope of artificial seeds and thus provide more options and flexibility to the Brassica plant breeder.

Key message

Artificial seeds from microspore derived embryos enhance breeding of Brassica species.


Artificial seeds Microspore-derived embryos Conversion of embryos Brassica species Encapsulation Artificial endosperm Priming embryos 



Abscisic acid




Gamborg’s medium


Doubled haploid


Gibberellic acid


Indole butyric acid


Murashige and Skoog medium


Naphthalene acetic acid



MCMI wishes to thank the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), Germany, and the Erasmus Mundus Experts Sustain programme for research fellowships, and the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka for a travel award.

Author contributions

The review was conceived by both authors. MCMI wrote the manuscript with inputs from CM who also revised the drafts. Both authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant and Environmental Sciences, National Institute of Fundamental StudiesKandySri Lanka
  2. 2.Department of Crop SciencesGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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