GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mutated plants. Gloved hands holding growths (calluses) from genetically-mutated plants. The plants were mutated by exposing them to radiation. Irradiation is a useful tool for the development of new plant genes. This is because the ionising effect of the radiation breaks up bonds in the DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) molecules which make up the plant cells' genetic material. The cell will try to repair the breaks, but may do so imperfectly. Plants grown from cells containing mutated forms of DNA may possibly have favourable characteristics.
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