Genetic variability present among all kind of cells/plants obtained from cell culture in vitro are called somaclonal or gametoclonal variation. It may arise due to changes in chromosome number or structure, gene mutation, plasma gene mutation, alteration in gene expression, gene amplification, mitotic crossing over, transposable element activation and rearrangement in cytoplasmic genes. Isolation of somaclonal variants involves screening, (the observation of large number of cells for the detection of variants individuals) and cell-selection (suitable selection pressure is applied which permits the preferential survival/growth of the variant cells only). The main benefit of somaclonal variation involves production of disease and stress resistant variants, mutants of agronomic and efficient nutrient utilization characters.
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