Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16
Gamma radiation has been used to induce mutations in the selective breeding of fruit. Seeds of a cultivar of oranges and grapefruits were exposed to gamma radiation and 1,270 seeds were planted, from which 16 mutant, seedless varieties were produced. Thermal neutron irradiation was used to ‘improve’ the red colour in Rio Star grapefruits which is estimated to have led to increased sales of $156 million in 1997.
S. Bado, B. P. Forster, S. Nielen, A. M. Ali, P. J. L. Logodo, B. J. Till, & M. Laimer, Plant Mutation Breeding: Current Progress and Future Assessment, In J. Janick (Ed.), Plant Breeding Reviews, Volume 39, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley Blackwell, 2015, 23-87, p. 62.