[NAFEX] Useful Mutants, Bred With Radiation (New York Times)

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Wed Aug 29 01:02:08 EDT 2007

Colchicine causes doubling of the chromosome number in a cell.  When 
the chromosomes duplicate themselves, they move apart into either end 
of the cell, then it splits in two, with each cell having a complete 
set.  Colchicine prevents the duplicates from moving apart, so the cell 
doesn't split and ends the division cycle with twice as many 
There was a 'craze' of trying colchicine on many plants when the effect 
was discovered.  Some plants reacted well, with larger, thicker leaves 
and flowers and some hardly looked any different.  Daylilies were one 
of the more successful plants.
In many cases, tetraploids were less fertile and didn't set as much 
seed, or in the case of fruit, set fewer fruits.   Later they found 
that while the new tetraploids weren't very fertile, you could grow 
seedlings and find some that had better fertility/productivity.   Used 
the right way, it's a very useful tool.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For growing supplies and more;  http://www.grapegrowersolutions.com

On Aug 28, 2007, at 9:43 PM, Ginda Fisher wrote:

I've read that other flowers are bred from seeds exposed to colchicine, 
which damages (changes) the genome.  Maybe that's used to create 
polyploidy, I forget the details.


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