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Advances in haploid production in higher plants.
A Touraev, BP Forster, SM Jain. eds. 2009.
New York: Springer Science + Business Media. $239 (hardback). 348 pp.
Since the first report of haploid plants derived from cultured anthers in the mid-1960s, there has been considerable interest in this technology by tissue culturists, geneticists and breeders. Although it has not been easy to develop this procedure for some species, considerable advances have been made, especially in the recent past, with the generation of haploid plants now being possible in more than 200 species. The volume edited by Touraev et al. effectively complements, but does not compete with, two other books published recently on haploid plants by other authors. The book has twenty-eight chapters compiled by international authors, many of whom have a wealth of experience because of their long involvement in this field of research. Emphasis is given to linking different disciplines throughout the chapters. For example, improvements in methodology are considered in relation to advances in our understanding of gene expression, cell physiology and ultra-structure. Whilst cereals feature as the experimental system in chapters by several authors, other contributions relate to medicinal plants and crops, such as carrot and trees. Aspects of genetic manipulation are also considered because of the present relevance of cell technologies, such as transformation, to crop improvement on a global scale. Importantly, thought is also given to the ways in which the technology may be exploited by present and future end users, patent matters, and the extension of haploid production to other species. The book is a typical Springer production with excellent presentation and chapters in which the text and figures are very reader-friendly. The volume is highly recommended as an addition to any library. It will be a very valuable source of information for personnel involved in research and teaching in academia, and for persons with a more ‘industrial’ bias.