The commercially used avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is a major fruit crop of the tropics and subtropics. The avocado belongs to the subgenus Persea of the genus Persea, which consists of approximately 80 species (Mhameed et al. 1997). In 2006 about 3.3 million t of avocado were produced on approximately 400 000 ha worldwide (http://faostat.fao.org).
The procedure that has been developed for genetic engineering has been based upon somatic embryogenesis from embryogenic suspension cultures (Cruz-Hernandez et al. 1998). Recently, transformation in avocado was reported using embryogenic cultures and a plant defensin gene aimed on herbicide resistance (Raharjo et al. 2008). Only one field test record was found for GM avovado plants for the United States within the Environmental Releases Database (http://www.isb.vt. edu/cfdocs/fieldtests1.cfm). This field test record was focused on GM plants with improved resistance to fungal diseases.
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