Yacon ( Smallanthus sonchifolius
) is a root crop native to the Andean region. Low sexual reproductive
capacity is amajor constraint facing the genetic breeding of this crop. Biotechnological techniques offer alternative
ways to widen genetic variability. We investigated somaclonal variation in regenerants of yacon derived from
in vitro somatic embryogenesis using simple sequence repeat (ISSR) analysis and flow cytometry.
Twenty tested ISSR primers provided a total of 7848 bands in 60 in vitro
regenerants and control plant. The
number of bands for each primer varied from3 to 10, and an average of 6.95 bands was obtained per ISSR primer.
Eight primers were polymorphic and generated 10 polymorphic bands with 7.19% mean polymorphism. ISSR
analysis revealed genetic variability in 6 plants under study. These regenerants had Jaccard's distances 0.104,
0.020, 0.040, 0.106, 0.163 and 0.040. Flow cytometric analysis did not reveal changes of relative nuclear DNA
content in regenerants suggesting that the plants obtained via somatic embryogenesis had maintained stable
Our findings show that indirect somatic embryogenesis could be used in yacon improvement to
widen genetic variability, especially when low sexual reproductive capacity hinders classical ways of breeding