Somaclonal variation associated with oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) clonal propagation: A review

  • GC Mgbeze
  • A Iserhienrhien


Somaclonal variation refers to any phenotypic or genotypic modifications that arise from in vitro culture. In the oil palm, it is characterized by fruit mantling and abnormal vegetative growth. Tissue culture remains the only means of micro propagation of oil palm as its biological characteristics do not allow for vegetative propagation by conventional means. The early success of plantlets production inspired many oil palm organizations to explore in vitro propagation technique. Though oil palm tissue culture is already well established, it is still faced with many challenges. Prominent among them is somaclonal variation which was first reported in 1986. They are only detectable when the palms start flowering; that is, after two to three years in the field. It has not been possible to fully eliminate or circumvent floral abnormality in the oil palm. However, the adoption of several measures such as reducing hormone level, avoiding fast growing callus and, reducing culture period, have reduced the problem to manageable levels of < 5%. Possible causes and factors influencing somaclonal variation in the oil palm are discussed.

Keywords: Somaclonal, variation, propagation, Elaeis guineesis, ramets, embryogenesis

African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 13(9), pp. 989-997, 26 February, 2014

Author Biographies

GC Mgbeze
Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
A Iserhienrhien
Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), near Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5315