Thursday, 8 April 2010

Most mutations occur during summer months

In biology, mutations are changes to the base pair sequence of the genetic material of a plant. Mutations don't just happen by themselves. The likely stimulants can be caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division, by exposure to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, or viruses, or can occur deliberately under the plants own cellular control during processes such as hypermutation.

In 1976, K. P. George and G. G. Nayar of the Bio-Medical Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Bombay-40085, India published a paper in which they described how the frequency of spontaneously occurring mutations were recorded in the Canna var. ‘Yellow King Humbert’. The studies have indicated that the mutation rate was high from January to April (the Indian summer) and low from July to September (the Indian winter). Among the floral parts, petals showed the highest mutation rate followed by sepals and staminodes. The size of the mutant sector also varied according to the stage at which the mutations occurred.

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