Atomic Seeds and Mutant Cherry Trees

This amazing blog article by Jorge from the Primrose Blog site is a ‘must read’

This may come as a surprise to many but we have been breeding mutants for almost a century. Unfortunately the X-Men remain fictional but what we have produced are some plant varieties with some truly extraordinary (and many would claim unnatural) powers.

Since 1942 scientists have been successfully inducing mutations in plants to improve crops and extending desirable features in  plants. With the seed market being worth up to $30 billion annually it is a serious if not controversial business.

As part of the research into the application of atomic technology, mutation breeding was funded with the establishment of gamma gardens, in which crops were arranged in concentric circles around a radiation source – usually a cobalt-60.

According to the UN there are over 3,200 mutant varieties released for commercial use. From drought resistant tomatoes to hail tolerant barley mutant breeds form an increasingly significant section of our arable produce. In Japan they have even developed a flowering cherry tree that blooms in all 4 seasons.

For more information, see the Primrose full blog post by Jorge on Mutation Breeding.