Three different approaches for the preservation of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) clonal genetic resources and their impacts on the induction of the « mantled » somaclonal variation were assessed. In vitro long term preservation of somatic embryos stock-cultures was studied : after a 5 year cultivation period, 75 % of clonal lines were still normal. Between 8 and 13 years of embryo cultures, half of the considered clonal lines were found to be « mantled ». Finally, 40 % were found to be normal over 15 years of in vitro conservation. Clonal conformity of ramets resulting from the re-cloning of somaplants depended, on one hand, on the floral status of the mother plant at the time of sampling and, on the other hand, on its origin. Re-cloning of abnormal regenerants led, in all cases, to 100 % abnormal offspring. The age of the ramet used as mother palm at the time of sampling was found to be critical for true-to-type regeneration. There is a high risk of obtaining variant regenerant palms if the clonal mother palm is sampled at nursery stage. Field observations carried out on palms originating from somatic embryos cryopreserved at -196 °C showed floral conformity rates comparable to those obtained from standard not-cryopreserved clonal palms, for 6 out of the 8 clonal lines studied. From the 2 remaining clonal lines, a few regenerant palms originating from standard batch were found to be « mantled », whereas those resulting from cryopreserved embryos were all normal. The assumption of changes in levels of genomic DNA methylation during preservation was discussed, together with the capacity of our cryopreservation protocol to select embryogenic cells which were only suited to trueto-type regeneration.