Radiation with Gamma rays has been reported to give rise to a large number of novel mutants in several ornamental species (Chrysanthemums, orchids, rose, pelargonium, canna, and carnations). The present study was carried out to utilize the mutagenic effect of gamma rays on Zinnia elegans to obtain dwarf varieties and flowers with novel architecture and colours.


Gamma rays induced variations in seed  germination, growth and phenotypic

characteristics of Zinnia elegans var. Dreamland


  1. Pallavi 1, S.K. Nivas 1, L. D’Souza 1, T.R. Ganapathi 2, S. Hegde 3 (*)

1 Laboratory of Applied Biology, St. Aloysius College, 575 003 Mangalore.

2 Plant Cell Culture Technology Section, Nuclear Agriculture and

Biotechnology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, 400

085 Mumbai, India.

3 Nitte University Center for Science Education and Research, Paneer Campus, Deralakatte, 575 018 Mangalore, India.

Key words: gamma rays, induced mutagenesis mutation, plant breeding, Zinnia

elegans var. Dreamland.

Abstract: Zinnia elegans is a herbaceous annual with diverse flower colours,

flower types and plant height. Zinnia elegans are popular as pot plants and also

for landscape gardening. The commercial value of Zinnia can be increased with

novel traits such as flower colour and form. One of the techniques to develop

plant varieties with superior traits is to induce mutations using gamma radia-

tion. Hence, three doses of gamma radiation (75Gy, 100Gy and 125Gy) were

utilised to obtain new and novel varieties of Zinnia elegans var. Dreamland and

to study the effect of gamma rays on germination of seeds, growth and survival

of the seedlings, height of the plants. All the three gamma ray doses were

found to decrease the germination and survival of seeds of Zinnia elegans. The

higher doses of gamma rays were found to be detrimental for the germination

and survival of seeds and height of the seedlings. Phenotypical variations such

as plant height, the number of flowers and flower diameter of the third genera-

tion mutants were highly significant as compared to the control. Eight floral

variations could be obtained with novel form and colour.