Sexual reproduction is an important mechanism for the introduction of variability through recombination in a population. In nature, ginger produces many flowers but fails to set fruit. New biotechnological methods like in vitro pollination and embryo rescue are employed in many plant species for obtaining viable seeds and subsequently the plants when normal mechanisms fail to develop seeds due to incompatibility and failure in embryo development. By culturing young 1-week-old immature inflorescences on MS medium supplemented with 10 mgl-1 BAP and 0.2 mgl-1 2,4-D, it was possible to effect in vitro pollination and the ovary developed into trilocular fruits by 60 to 90 days in 20 percent of the cultures (see Figure 4.1g), and subsequently plants could be recovered from the fruits. In 20 percent of the cultures single plantlets were seen emerging directly from the ovaries by the seventh week (Nirmal Babu et al., 1992b). These plantlets developed roots simultaneously and later produced tillers. Development of seeds by in vitro pollination in ginger was also reported by Valsala et al. (1997). In nature also, rare fruit set was reported (Purseglove et al., 1981). The possibility of in vitro—induced seed development will open up new possibilities of sexual reproduction and development of seed-derived progenies of ginger by selfing and hybridization hitherto ineffective in ginger, thus bringing entirely new directions to ginger crop—improvement programs.
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