, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 187–204 | Cite as

Global impact of mutation-derived varieties

  • B.S. Ahloowalia
  • M. Maluszynski
  • K. Nichterlein


During the past seventy years, worldwide more than 2250 varieties have been released that have been derived either as direct mutants or from their progenies. Induction of mutations with radiation has been the most frequently used method for directly developed mutant varieties. The prime strategy in mutation-based breeding has been to upgrade the well-adapted plant varieties by altering one or two major traits, which limit their productivity or enhance their quality value. In this paper, the global impact of mutation-derived varieties on food production and quality enhancement is presented. In addition, the economic contribution of the selected mutant varieties of rice, barley, cotton, groundnut, pulses, sunflower, rapeseed and Japanese pear is discussed. In several mutation-derived varieties, the changed traits have resulted in synergistic effect on increasing the yield and quality of the crop, improving agronomic inputs, crop rotation, and consumer acceptance. In contrast to the currently protected plant varieties or germplasm and increasing restrictions on their use, the induced mutants have been freely available for plant breeding. Many mutants have made transnational impact on increasing yield and quality of several seed-propagated crops. Induced mutations will continue to have an increasing role in creating crop varieties with traits such as modified oil, protein and starch quality, enhanced uptake of specific metals, deeper rooting system, and resistance to drought, diseases and salinity as a major component of the environmentally sustainable agriculture. Future research on induced mutations would also be important in the functional genomics of many food crops.

crop improvement economic impact induced mutations mutant value mutant variety 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B.S. Ahloowalia
    • 1
  • M. Maluszynski
    • 1
  • K. Nichterlein
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and AgricultureInternational Atomic Energy AgencyViennaAustria

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