The early efforts by tea breeders in India for selecting candidate tea clones from natural variability existing in seed-grown plantations are reviewed. The procedures and criteria in selecting elite clones are described. The genetical and morphological differences between seed and clonal plantations and their complementarity as planting materials are highlighted. The need to conserve valuable tea germplasm present in existing old seed-grown plantations is suggested. The danger of genetic vulnerability of new clonal plantations using few popular clones which is resulting into narrowing of their genetic base, is highlighted.
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