Before micropropagation commences, careful attention should be given to the selection of stock plants. They must be typical of the variety or species, and free from any symptoms of disease. It may be advantageous to treat the chosen plant (or parts of it) in some way to make in vitro culture successful. Steps to reduce the contamination level of explants (Vol. 2) were considered sufficiently important by Debergh and Maene (1981) to constitute a separate essential stage in a commercial micropropagation programme. Growth, morphogenesis and rates of propagation in vitro can be improved by appropriate environmental and chemical pre-treatment of stock plants: this subject is discussed in Chapter 11. Procedures to detect and reduce or eliminate systemic bacterial and virus diseases (see Vol. 2) may also be required. Disease indexing and disease elimination should be a definite part of all micropropagation work; but these precautions are unfortunately often omitted, sometimes with adverse consequences. The difficulties which may be encountered in trying to propagate chimeras by tissue culture methods are discussed in Chapter 10.
It seems appropriate to include all procedures adopted in plant selection and pre-treatment within 'Stage 0'. The recognised numbering of Murashige's stages is then unaltered.
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