Inducing Mutation

From: Ivan Snyder (
Date: Sun Nov 07 1999 - 09:13:11 PST

Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 09:13:11 -0800
From: Ivan Snyder <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3730$foo@default>
Subject: Inducing Mutation

Hi Tommy and all,

>can we use
>chemical, UV or other methods which facilitate the production of CP
>mutant from seeds?

I have studied the matter of mutating plants. There are two books I found
in a local university library on the subject, --induced mutation in plant
breeding. These books told of using chemical, UV, and radiation as
mutagenic agents.

UV - Ultra Viotet rays are not used on seed, only pollen. A benefit to
irradiating pollen is that since this way deals with cells which produce
individual plants the chimera effect is avoided. UV can cause skin cancer
and blindness so this would not be wise to practice at home.

Chemicals - There are a number of chemicals commonly used to induce
mutations, here are the four most important; Ethyl methane sulfonate,
diethyl sulfate, ethylene imine, and N-methyl-N- nitroso urethane. None
of these will be found at your local drug store. These chemicals are all
carcinogenic and extremely dangerous. We can rule out chemicals for your
home use.

Radiation - Seeds are irradiated by x-rays from a cathode ray tube, or by
subjection to Cobalt-60 which is a radioactive isotope. Irradiated seed
is your best option to induce mutation for the CP hobbyist. All you would
need to do is find someone who could expose your seed. Exposure level
would need to be found as this varies from plant to plant. In Carolina
science catalog are sold irradiated seed of several plants. Most of these
seed sets are exposed at 20, 30, 40, and 50 Krads; these would be good
levels to begin experimenting.

Mutation in General - The mutatagenic affect is more or less
unpredictable as you don't know what sort of mutation you might get. Most
will be worthless. Higher levels of radiation produce more mutations.
High exposure levels which kill most seed with only a few percent
surviving is not very effective since alot of these will also be sterile.
90% of all mutations are likely to be recessive and will not be expressed
until the following generation. For these reasons tens of thousands of
seed will be destroyed and hundreds of plants must be reared to the
second generation inorder to find a single mutant plant; an ambitious
enterprise for one individual grower.

Mutation Lottery - Only by involving a good number of people may mutation
breeding yield any success. Here is my scheme. If we CP Listserver
members have among us someone having the resources to irradiate heaps of
seed, these seed could be dispersed to a large number of growers which
could raise these up and ferret out the mutants. I think the best plants
to start with would be those with a short life cycle, otherwise it would
take many years to get any results. I suggest Drosera capensis, D.
anglica tropical form and D. binata T-form. These produce abundant seed,
are easy to start, and grow relatively fast.

Now, to begin this lottery, can anyone out there irradiate some seed for

Ivan Snyder
Hermosa Beach

Try Juno Web:

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