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colchicine used to improve vegetable crops

David JD Bell dbell-hvp at m140.aone.net.au
Tue Jan 21 01:54:03 EST 1997

>doug at nathan.allegany.com wrote:
>>       Could someone recommend any books or articles covering the use of
>> induced polyploid seedlings on food crops?

For quite good articles/sections on ploidy & mutation breeding plus
additional references try...

'Methods in Fruit Breeding' edited by Moore & Janick. 
Purdue Uni Press 1983.
ISBN 0-911198-63-6

'Principles of Plant Breeding' by R.W. Allard
John Wiley & Sons Inc
ISBN 0-471-02315-9

chris freeman <cfreeman at frontiernet.net> replied:
>Also, *VERY IMPORTANT* when using colchicine, do NOT eat the vegetables 
>of the first generation.  They are harmful.  Instead, gather the seeds 
>and grow the second generation, these veggies are perfectly fine for 

I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that any seeds you treat
would be dangerous, because as colchicine is very toxic, and like many
mutagens it works on people too (ie gives you cancer). However I am
pretty sure, that unless you got a very strange mutation, the fruit of
plants grown from treated seed (first generation progeny) would be

On the other hand Chris might be right about leaf or root vegetables
and I do agree that this it is *very important*, so please check this
side of things thoroughly. For a reasonably safe mutagen, we have
found short wave UV light irradiation of pollen quite effective.

When doing additional breeding generations (which you will probably
have to do to get a decent plant), don't forget to keep count of your
ploidy numbers because plants with an odd ploidy number are sterile,
which may or may not be a disadvantage.

Good luck
| David JD Bell                               |   -__/\              |
| Hidden Valley Plantations                   |  /     \             |
| Beerwah, Qld, AUSTRALIA.                    | (  __  ') <- Look,   |
| dbell-hvp at m140.aone.net.au                  |  \/  \_/     there   |
| http://www.home.aone.net.au/hvp/welcome.htm |       v      he is ! |

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