The genetic secrets of the humble avocado have been preserved for eternity.
In a world-first, The University of Queensland (UQ) PhD student Chris O’Brien has successfully frozen avocado shoot tips in liquid nitrogen, then revived them in a bid to preserve valuable genetic lines for future generations.
It’s smashing news for avo- lovers because it means we’ll never run out!
“The aim is to preserve important avocado cultivars and key genetic traits from possible destruction by threats like bushfires, pests and disease such as laurel wilt – a fungus which has the capacity to wipe out all the avocado germplasm in Florida,” Mr O’Brien said.
Scientists have been able to freeze and revive dozens of genetic lines of other agricultural plant species including bananas, grape vines and apples but until now, avocados have proved to be especially stubborn.
“At first I was just recovering brown mush after freezing the avocado tips,” Mr O’Brien said.
“There was no protocol so I experimented with priming the tips with Vitamin C, and used other pre-treatments like sucrose and cold temperature to prepare the cells – it was a question of trial and error to get the optimal mixture and correct time points.”
Eighty revived avocado plants are now growing in a UQ glasshouse.
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