Physiological and genetic manipulation of adventitious rooting in Prunus spp.
Many species from economically important genera remain rooting recalcitrant, prohibiting the
commercialisation of many species in forestry and horticulture, and hindering genetic
improvement by conventional breeding or recombinant DNA technology, where vegetative
propagation is often used to preserve the genetic fidelity of elite progeny. Two cherry species
(Prunus avium and P. padus) were used as models in this study to investigate the physiological
and genetic manipulation of adventitious rooting.
Mature trees are typically more difficult to propagate vegetatively than their juvenile
counterparts. For some trees, micropropagation can circumvent certain effects of ageing and
maturation, restoring shoot vigour and rooting, but the mechanism(s) involved have not been
elucidated. During micropropagation, subculture interval was found not to be the predominant
factor promoting the 'apparent rejuvenation' of mature P. avium tissue. 'Apparently rejuvenated'
ex vitro and hedged (putatively) mature P. avium trees were treated with gibberellins predicted to
have a range of structural related activities. GA, improved the rooting of cuttings from hedged
(putatively) mature cherry, but not from ex vitro trees.
Methodology to regenerate adventitious shoots from P. avium leaf explants was
developed, (putative) transgenic P. padus plants were produced by an Agrobacterium
tumefaciens mediated strategy.
Auxin redistribution in planta is postulated to require a component of active transport;
inhibition of the predominantly basipetal transport has profound effects on rooting. The putative
function of the Arabidopsis thaliana AtAUX1 gene is that of a cellular auxin influx carrier, possibly,
as described by the chemiosmotic hypothesis. This thesis examined the hypothesis that
transformation with the AtAUX1 gene would enhance the delivery of the root-inducing signal to
improve rooting of P. padus, a species which is rooting recalcitrant and more or less obligate on
exogenous auxin for this process. However, all six, constitutively expressed, Cauliflower Mosaic
Virus 35S promoter driven, 35S:: AtAUX1, transgenic shoot lines had reduced rooting.