The present study was conducted with the aim of evaluating some of the factors that influence induction and regeneration of somatic embryos in Vitex doniana since there are no available reports on tissue culture of this tree species. Leaves from plants growing under temporary shed were cultured on Murashige and Skoog supplemented with silver nitrate and four amino acids (proline, tryptophan, lysine and leucine) at varying concentrations, 0.11 mg/l thidiazuron, 2% sucrose and 100 mg/l myo-inositol in separate experiments. The explants cultured on media supplemented with tryptophan at 30.6 mg/l produced the optimal (6.5) number of embryos per explant. This number was fivefold more than the number obtained in the control. On the other hand, it was observed that the explants on media supplemented with silver nitrate at 8.45 mg/l gave the same mean (6.5) number of embryos per explant. These first ever results on the induction of somatic embryo in V. doniana could be used for mass propagation and to select useful traits of this tree species at the cellular level. However, further work needs to be done on the conversion of the regenerated embryos.
Key words: Amino acids, leaf explant, silver nitrate, somatic embryogenesis, Vitex doniana.
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