Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 23  2011 April p.  935-952

Commercial-scale propagation and planting of elite oil palm clones: research and development towards realization

Author(s): SOH, A.C. * ; WONG, G. * ; TAN, C.C. * ; CHEW, P.S. * ; CHONG, S.P. * ; HO, Y.W. * ; WONG, C.K. * ; CHOO, C.N. * ; NOR AZURA, H. * ; KUMAR, K. *

The announcements of breakthroughs in plant regeneration from tissue cultures of oil palm in the 1970s ushered in a new chapter in oil palm genetic improvement with projected yield increase of clones exceeding 30% over hybrid seeds. However, the subsequent ubiquitous appearance of the mantled fruit somaclonal variant in regenerated palms resulted in the early commercial oil palm tissue culture laboratories reverting to further research and development (R&D). Applied Agricultural Resources Sdn Bhd persisted and, through its R&D, circumvented the impeding issues of unacceptably high fruit mantling, and low efficiencies of tissue culture amenability and selection of elite palms. In the process, it has established viable large-scale commercial propagation of oil palm clones by gel and liquid culture methods by the late 1990s. This achievement has since been emulated by more than a dozen commercial laboratories in Malaysia and elsewhere, producing about 3.5 million ramets per year. This apparent success has led industry to believe that oil palm cloning is an established and efficient technology, and that more tissue culture laboratories to produce more high-yielding clones to replace hybrid seeds in planting and replanting will resolve the stagnating national yields.
Much of the increased ramet production comes from more laboratories culturing more palms than in improved cloning efficiencies. Most of the clones currently produced are also derived either from advanced dura (D) x pisifera (P) hybrids or from commercial DxP fields with low heritability for yield. Consequently, the expected yields of the clones would not be much different from those of near true F1 and clonal hybrids which are currently available at a much reduced cost and without the attendant mantling risk. The agro-management needs of clonal plantings to maximize their fruit bunch yield potential have yet to be systematically addressed through scientific experimentation. Cloning ortets from the early or recombinant phases of hybrid breeding programmes would be more efficient with the wider genetic variability and higher heritability for yield and other desirable traits. Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloning would be in the early commercial exploitation of new genetic materials from introgression programmes of wide intra- or inter-specific crosses which would also broaden the genetic base of the commercial plantings to reduce the risk of genetic vulnerability to pests, diseases and environmental stress.
Clones are unlikely to supersede hybrid seeds as the dominant oil palm planting material until the amenability and fidelity deficiencies in tissue culture have been further resolved or circumvented, and their field performance advantage over concurrent improved hybrids clearly demonstrated.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
* Applied Agricultural Resources Sdn Bhd, Locked Bag 212, Sg Buloh Post Office, 47000 Sg Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia.

Cited By

1. Chee, W. W., et al. "Development of an Effective SSR-Based Fingerprinting System for Commercial Planting Materials and Breeding Applications in Oil Palm." ,Journal of Oil Palm Research 27(2) (2015): 113-127.
2. Corrêa, T. R., et al. "Estimation of Genetic Parameters for in Vitro Oil Palm Characteristics (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.) and Selection of Genotypes for Cloning Capacity and Oil Yield." Industrial Crops and Products 77 (2015): 1033-1038.
3. de Carvalho Silva, R., Z. G. Luis, and J. E. Scherwinski-Pereira. "Differential Responses to Somatic Embryogenesis of Different Genotypes of Brazilian Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.)." Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 111(1) (2012): 59-67.
4. Devi, S. P., et al. "Genetic Fidelity Assessment in Micropropagated Plants using Cytogenetical Analysis and Heterochromatin Distribution: A Case Study with Nepenthes Khasiana Hook f." Protoplasma 252(5) (2015): 1305-1312.
5. Gomes, H. T., et al. "Comparative Biochemical Profiling during the Stages of Acquisition and Development of Somatic Embryogenesis in African Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.)." Plant Growth Regulation 74(2) (2014): 199-208.
6. Palanyandy, S. R., et al. "In Vitro Developmental Study of Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.) Polyembryoids from Cell Suspension using Scanning Electron Microscopy." Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 35(5) (2013): 1727-1733.
7. Romyanon, K., K. Mosaleeyanon, and C. Kirdmanee. "Direct-Shoot Organogenesis as an Alternative Protocol for in Vitro Regeneration of Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.)." Scientia Horticulturae 195 (2015): 1-7.
8. Soh, A. C. "Breeding and Genetics of the Oil Palm." Palm Oil: Production, Processing, Characterization, and Uses., 2012. 31-58.
9.Ting, N. -C, et al. "Identification of QTLs Associated with Callogenesis and Embryogenesis in Oil Palm using Genetic Linkage Maps Improved with SSR Markers." PLoS ONE 8(1) (2013)
10. Wening, S., et al. "Ranking the Value of Germplasm: New Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis) Breeding Stocks as a Case Study." Annals of Applied Biology 160(2) (2012): 145-156.
11. Gomes, H. T., et al. "Regeneration of Somatic Embryos of Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis) using Temporary Immersion Bioreactors." Industrial Crops and Products 89 (2016): 244-249.
12. Corley, R. H. V., and P. B. Tinker. "The Oil Palm: Fifth Edition." The Oil Palm: Fifth Edition., 2015. 1-655.
13. Ooi, S. -E, et al. "EgHOX1, a HD-Zip II Gene, is Highly Expressed during Early Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.) Somatic Embryogenesis." Plant Gene 8 (2016): 16-25.
14. Woittiez, L. S., et al. "Yield Gaps in Oil Palm: A Quantitative Review of Contributing Factors." European Journal of Agronomy 83 (2017): 57-77.
15. Tan, H. S., et al. "Proteomic Profiling of Mature Leaves from Oil Palm (Elaeis Guineensis Jacq.)." Electrophoresis Vol. 38, No. 8 (2017):1147-1153, doi:10.1002/elps.201600506.

Source: Scopus
Last updated: 22 May 2017

Call For Papers

Search for:

Most cited articles


Subscribe with us to get the latest information on Palm Oil Research from MPOB today!