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Gamma Radiation as a Mutagen on Zea Mays’ Growth

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Effects of Gamma Radiation as a Mutagen on Zea mays growth

  • John Numock Malayang

ABSTRACT

Treating the plants with radiations, for example gamma radiation could cause significant changes to the plants such as the ability of it to mutate, and might also leave other varying effects on plants. The objective of this study is to determine the growth of corn plant (Zea mays) under different gamma radiation dosages as well as its effect on the corn plant.

There were 20 corn seeds that were planted on each row of soil with different levels of gamma radiation (10kr, 30kr and 50kr) with a control (0kr). The plants inside each plot are checked for its seed germination. Each plot containing the plants was then measured for its mean height three times a week in the days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday from October to December 2014. The highest mean height was observed in the control setup (0kr) while the 50kr set-up gained the lowest indicating that in the control set-up, the seed germination was at its ‘peak’ and at its lowest in the 50kr set-up. The higher the gamma radiation dosage is, the lesser survivors would be observed.

Therefore we can conclude, based on the observations, that lower height for the plants and lower number of survivors is initiated by higher gamma radiation. With higher gamma radiation, the number of germinating seeds also will decrease.

INTRODUCTION

Mutationsare accidental changes in agenomic sequence of the DNA: the DNA sequence of a cell'sgenomeor the DNA orRNAsequence in some viruses. These random sequences can be defined as sudden and spontaneous changes in the cell. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic, as well aserrorsthat occur duringmeiosisorDNA replication. This implies that mutations can have a positive or negative feedback depending on the change that the gene or the chromosome had experienced. Mutagens, on the other hand, are chemical or physical agents that increase the frequency of mutations. Essentially all mutagens show some specificity for the type of mutations produced. Mutagens help in the creation of mutations by increasing its chances if such is included. They are chemicalagentsthat increasetherateofgeneticmutationby interfering with thefunction ofnucleic acids. Mutations, in general, can only undergo if genomic changes occur by the involvement of mutagens and/or by the error in the DNA itself. Gamma radiation is an electromagnetic radiation, like X-rays, that is a product of radioactive atoms. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation; with a very short wavelength of less than one-tenth of a nanometre. Gamma radiation is capable of penetrating to the skin of the human, making it very dangerous when exposed to. They can induce DNA alteration by interfering with the genetic material of the cell. DNA double-strand breaks are generally accepted to be the most biologically significant lesion by which ionizing radiation causes cancer and hereditary disease. Its effect on plants, however, are also as devastating as it can do to human DNAs. A study by a group of researchers at Istanbul University has shown that gamma radiation can reduce the average height in plants, fresh weight and chlorophyll content. Gamma radiations’ gift to plants was not bounded by the above stated effects, it causes them also to have (1) abnormalities, making them to have withered crowns, underdeveloped or misshapen leaves and unusual growth patterns such as gigantism - excessive height and over-rapid growth - characterize plants exposed to intermediate doses of gamma rays. Another case is that (2) it can make their seeds not to germinate when exposed to high levels of radiation. Seeds exposed to intermediate levels of radiation may actually exhibit higher growth rates at first, although the percentage of seeds that germinate decreases as the radiation dose increases. The gamma rays induce DNA damage and the higher the dose, the more damage to the plant's DNA they cause. Different plants may exhibit different tolerance levels; some seeds and seedlings can survive higher doses than others and (3) can even kill it at a certain high level of gamma ray irradiation.

The objective of the study is to determine the relationship between different levels of gamma radiation dosages and its effect on the growth of corn (Zea mays) plants. This is done within three months, October to December, alongside the Institute of Biological Sciences of University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The experiment was done in the month of October until the first week of December 2014. Corn plants were planted on each soil with a quantity of gamma radiation, specifically 10kr, 30kr and 50kr, and a control set-up, 0kr, which was not subjected to gamma radiation. The average height of each plot for each gamma radiation level was then measured for the next weeks, succeeding it from Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The measuring instrument used was either a ruler or a meter stick. It was also recorded on a paper showing the control and the different dosages of gamma radiation. The total number of seed germinated and the height of live plants were recorded and were used in determining percentage germination and percentage survival.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

After 23 measurements, the data observed was summarized into this table:

DATE

0 krad (control)

10 krad

30 krad

50 krad

No. of plants observed

Ave. height (cm)

No. of plants observed

Ave. height (cm)

No. of plants observed

Ave. height (cm)

No. of plants observed

Ave. height (cm)

15-Oct

9

9.41

5

10.10

3

6.97

3

2.17

17-Oct

10

12.50

4

18.00

3

7.67

3

3.50

20-Oct

8

21.00

4

23.90

2

7.30

0

0.00

22-Oct

8

22.00

4

23.50

2

6.50

0

 

24-Oct

8

23.44

3

29.75

1

7.50

0

0.00

27-Oct

8

26.19

4

31.65

1

7.50

0

 

29-Oct

8

25.25

3

44.83

0

0.00

0

 

31-Oct

8

33.60

3

45.40

0

 

0

 

3-Nov

7

18.43

3

27.67

0

 

0

 

5-Nov

7

22.43

3

30.00

0

 

0

 

7-Nov

7

26.41

3

35.10

0

 

0

 

10-Nov

7

42.70

3

55.50

0

 

0

 

12-Nov

7

44.11

3

55.30

0

 

0

 

14-Nov

6

68.08

1

31.80

0

 

0

 

17-Nov

6

58.63

2

68.25

0

 

0

 

19-Nov

6

66.08

1

72.00

0

 

0

 

21-Nov

6

72.27

1

79.50

0

 

0

 

24-Nov

6

74.13

 

84.00

0

 

0

 

26-Nov

6

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

28-Nov

6

78.00

1

88.00

0

 

0

 

1-Dec

6

78.00

1

91.00

0

 

0

 

3-Dec

           

0

 

5-Dec

6

47.88

2

68.40

0

 

0

 
                 

Table 1.0 Average height (cm) of the corn (Zea mays) plants and the number of plants observed within their respective gamma radiation dosage.

Table 1.1 Percentage germination and percentage survival of the corn plants (Zea mays) after nth observation within their respective gamma radiation dosage.

Treatments

% Germination

% Survival

0krad

50

30

10krad

40

10

30krad

15

0

50krad

15

0

This table indicates that the plot with 10krad has the highest output of height. Second to it is the control setup with 0krad gamma radiation mean outputs. The mean heights of 10krad and 0krad can be compared to that of the control and is somehow only deviated to it by a little amount of cm. However, the corn plants within the dosages 30kr and 50kr have shown a very significant height difference from the control. They are both inferior compared to the control. Below is the visualization of the said table:

Fig 1.0 A line graph of the mean height and number of corn plants (Zea mays) (Y-axis) with their respective gamma radiation levels given the nth measurement number and days (X-axis).

The data for this graph was from computing the mean height of plants, given the gamma radiation level, per measurement number. As we can see, the mean height of each plot from each gamma radiation is expected be the same with the control if no mutation occurred. However, it is shown that increasing the gamma radiation level decreases the mean height of corn plant.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

From the observations given, we can conclude that the higher the gamma radiation dosage of the soil of the plants grown into, the lower its given height measurement. We can also conclude that high levels of gamma radiation dosage could certainly kill the plants or prevent its seed germination (as seen in the 50krad set-up). Gamma radiation as a mutagen made the plant to change its whole attitude on its growth. However in this experiment, we can see many factors leading to errors - the method of measuring the heights of the plants (by a ruler or a meter stick controlled by the hand), how would each varying measurers measure the plant, the unstable amount of water and sunlight taken in by the plants, the effect of the organisms surrounding the plants, etc. - that have caused some effect in the determination of the heights of each plant. It is recommended to conduct this experiment in a very controlled area on which all of the factors are constant.

LITERATURE CITED

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation

http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/~smaloy/MicrobialGenetics/topics/mutations/mutagens.html

http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Mutagens

http://www.nd-ted.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/Radiography/Physics/gamma.htm

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf05.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20449774

http://www.ehow.com/list_7549339_effects-gamma-radiation-plants.html


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