Meristem culture for elimination of strawberry viruses
A program designed to rid strawberry varieties of viruses by meristem culture was initiated experimentally at U.C., Berkeley about three years ago. Some strawberry virus diseases can be controlled by prolonged heat treatment of the infected plants, however, there are other virus diseases that can not be eliminated by heat treatment. Meristem culture offers a means to control these heat-tolerant viruses. The meristems, or growing points, are small localized regions of active cell division. In meristem culture, these cells differentiate to form another strawberry plant. Approximately 70 per cent of the strawberry plants grown from individual meristems have been freed of all detectable viruses. This study has shown that a combination of both heat treatment and meristem culture is effective in eliminating viruses from strawberry plants.