Conventional crossing of stenospermocarpic grapes for the obtainment of seedless cultivars presents some technical constraints causing embryo abortion in the early berry developmental stages. Embryo rescue technique partially overcomes these limitations, but the obtainment of viable plantlets relies on the optimization of several genetic and methodological issues. This work aimed to regenerate viable plants from immature ovules of stenospermocarpic table grape hybrids by applying a three-step in vitro culture protocol consisting of embryo development, embryo germination-rooting, and plantlet formation. The influence of parental genotypes (six “seedless × seedless” crosses), ovule sampling time (30, 40, 50 days after pollination (DAP)), and extent of embryo germination induction (4, 6, 8 weeks) was assessed on ovule fertilization, embryo development and germination, rooting, and plantlet formation to establish the best rescue time for each combination hybrid. Our optimized protocol included immature ovule isolation for 40 DAP and embryo germination induction for 8 weeks. As for genotypes, the most efficient embryo germination was recovered from hybrids of Thompson, Superior, and Regal cultivars, whereas the highest percentage of viable plants was derived from 50-DAP ovules of Luisa × Thompson progeny. Such an optimized protocol could be useful to maximize the efficiency of future breeding programs for grape seedlessness.
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