Tea [Camellia sinensis (L) 0. Kuntze] is the oldest non-alcoholic caffeine containing beverage crop, belonging to the genus Camellia (family Theaceae). India is the foremost producer, and after Sri Lanka and China, it is the third largest exporter of commercial tea in the world (Anonymous 2000). The ever-increasing demand for higher productivity and better quality of tea has resulted in the need for mass multiplication of elite clones. Tea is propagated largely through seeds or cuttings, but a major concern associated with seed raised populations has been the occurrence of high genetic variability.
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