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Biotechnology for Endangered Plant Conservation

  • Anca Manole-PaunescuEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 4)

Abstract

The rhythm of biodiversity loss is estimated to be between 1000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. This is often referred to as “the sixth extinction crisis” after the five known mass extinction events in geological history. Plant species are known to be particularly vulnerable to present biotic crisis. These figures indicate that research for improving existing, and developing new effective conservation strategies are necessary. Advances in biotechnology provide new methods for plant diversity conservation and evaluation. In the past decade a significant number of plant species, either wild or crop, threatened, medicinal or ornamental, were conserved by biotechnological means. Therefore, the challenges to support conservation by biotechnology are many and varied. Direct application of biotechnological tools like in vitro culture and cryopreservation proved to be valuable means for large-scale propagation, storage, and reintroduction of endangered plant species. The in vitro techniques for plant conservation include photoautotrophic micropropagation, somatic embryogenesis, cell culture and embryo rescue techniques, as well as in vitro cold storage and cryopreservation methods. This chapter presents their application in the development of ex situ collections and their contribution toward an integrated system to conserve endangered plant species.

Keywords

In vitro conservation Endangered plants Recalcitrant seeds 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Vegetal and Animal CytobiologyInstitute of Biology, BucharestBucharestRomania

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