Tissue culture as a plant production system for horticultural crops
In 1980, a conference on tissue culture of fruit crops was held at Beltsville to summarize the current status of this technology and to stimulate interest in it among research scientists, students, and commercial producers in the U. S. Interest in that conference and the proceedings from it far exceeded the expectations of the organizing committee. Since that time, micropropagation of fruit crops in the U. S. has increased significantly, but still lags far behind applications to production of ornamental plants. Within the past two years, a number of new laboratories have been established and some of the existing laboratories have expanded to a size far larger than any previously anticipated. Creation of new laboratories capable of producing more than 400,000 plants per week will test the ingenuity of laboratory managers and the skills of marketing departments. In recent years, numerous symposia have been held on various aspects of biotechnology and genetic engineering. Although micro propagation is the key to providing large numbers of genetically engineered plants, it is a topic that has been relegated to a minor position, or ignored completely, at such meetings. Accordingly, the time seemed propitious for a conference devoted solely to all aspects of micropropagation as applicable to horticultural crops.