Re: genetic mutation of CP seeds via Microwave

From: Sean Barry (
Date: Wed Nov 03 1999 - 14:05:41 PST

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 14:05:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Sean Barry <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3687$foo@default>
Subject: Re: genetic mutation of CP seeds via Microwave

On Wed, 3 Nov 1999, Steve Klitzing wrote:

> Hi:
> Has anyone attempted to genetically mutate any CPs by throwing CP seed into
> a Microwave oven? Has there been any success with this method? I recently
> read a book called "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean. In it, some offbeat
> orchid growers were attempting to mutate orchids by throwing orchid seed
> into a Microwave oven. Can this been done with CP's? How long does the

It can't be done with any seeds--microwave ovens don't produce ionizing or
UV radiation, which are the only common kinds of wave energy that can
cause genetic mutation. That's why those who seek to mutate the genetic
material in seeds usually use an x-ray machine. Microwaves cause water
molecules to rotate back and forth, and the friction from that motion
generates lots of heat. The only quantitative effect on any kind of
tissue from microwaves is to cook it, which is why they're in kitchens.
I have one in my genetics lab, but it's for cooking food.....

Sean Barry

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