Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam) ranks sixth among the cultivated crops of the world. In fact, it represents a major staple food in many tropical countries. Recently this crop has been proposed as a source of starch for industrial utilization. Somatic embryogenesis could prove useful as an alternative to traditional propagation by cuttings, which is labour intensive and can transmit diseases. Somatic embryos are reported to originate from single cells, so that, if regenerated from mutagenized tissues, should give rise to solid mutants. 2 refs.