Genetic transformation allows the release of improved cultivars with desirable characteristics in a shorter period of time and therefore may be useful in citrus breeding programs. The objective of this research was to establish a protocol for genetic transformation of Valencia and Natal sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) and Rangpur lime (Citrus limonia L. Osbeck). Epicotyl segments of germinated in vitro plantlets (three weeks in darkness and two weeks in a 16-h photoperiod) were used as explants. These were co-cultivated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA-105 and different experiments were done to evaluate the transformation efficiency: explants were co-cultivated with Agrobacterium for one, three or five days; explants were incubated with Agrobacterium suspension for 5, 10, 20 or 40 minutes; co-cultivation medium was supplemented with acetosyringone at 0, 100 or 200 µmol L-1; Explants ends had a longitudinal terminal incision (2-3 mm); co-cultivation temperatures of 19, 23 or 27°C were imposed. The experimental design was completely randomized in all experiments with five replications, each consisted of a Petri dish (100 x 15 mm) with 30 explants and resulted in a total of 150 explants per treatment. Longitudinal terminal incision in the explant ends did not improve shoot regeneration. However, transgenic plants of all three cultivars were confirmed from explants that had been subjected to inoculation time of 20 minutes, co-culture of three days at 23-27°C, in the absence of acetosyringone.
genetic transformation; organogenesis; micrografting; improvement