|Author: ||S. Mohan Jain|
|Keywords: ||chimerism, cut flowers, physical mutagens, pot flowers, mutations, flower colour, commercial aspects|
Genetic variation is necessary in any plant breeding program for crop improvement.
Induced mutations are highly effective to enhance natural genetic resources and have successfully assisted in developing improved and new cultivars among both seed and vegetatively propagated crops.
So far, among more than 2300 officially released mutant varieties worldwide, 566 represent ornamental plants (http://www-mvd.iaea.org). Some of the selected traits of the mutant ornamental plants are flower colour, flower morphology, plant architecture, compact growth, flower type, and variegated leaves.
Among mutagens, gamma rays have been commonly used effectively for mutation induction.
Recently, heavy-ion beam (HIB) has attracted increasing interest in floriculture for mutation induction.
Some of the important ornamental plants, both cut and potted plants, that have been used for mutation breeding for example are: chrysanthemum, orchids, rose, pelargonium, canna, and carnation.
The growth of floriculture industry has taken long strides worldwide, especially in the developing countries as a result of outsourcing, which is due to low cost of maintenance including low labour cost.
The industry must meet the demand of consumers by providing new value added flowers, which are cost effective and unique in flower characteristics, e.g. flower shape, flower colour, and have long shelf life.
Mutation-assisted breeding (MAB) together with biotechnology can contribute greatly for genetic improvement of ornamental plants and in up lifting the socio-economic benefits in the developing countries.
In this article, an overview of mutation breeding of selected ornamental plants and successful examples of ornamental mutants developed in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are given.
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