Creating your own path: inducing novel traits using mutagenesis
Breeding new plants involves selection among a varied population and selecting those that possess the trait(s) of interest or an improvement toward a goal. Often, this involves identifying parents that have complimentary traits, crossing, and choosing progeny that share the desired combination. In other instances, however, there may not be a source of germplasm available to introgress traits. In such instances, mutation breeding offers breeders a potential route for improvement, albeit with a somewhat less targeted approach. We conducted experiments using chemical (ethyl methanesulfonate, EMS) and physical (gamma radiation) mutagens in a number of species to generate variation, which resulted in unpredictable but often useful mutants. Some of these included more compact plants, alternate leaf morphology, and chlorophyll mutants. Our work supports continued and expanded use of mutation breeding for nursery and landscape plants.
Contreras, R. and Hoskins, T. (2020). Creating your own path: inducing novel traits using mutagenesis. Acta Hortic. 1291, 67-72
ethyl methanesulfonate, gamma radiation, germplasm, mutation breeding