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Effect of Irradiation on the Growth and Germination of Okra(Abelmoschus esculentus).

Lennon Blaise dC. Davalos


December 2, 2016

1A technical paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements

in Bio 30 (Genetics) Laboratory class under Mr. Jae Joseph Russell
Rodriguez, 1st sem., 2016-2017.
The effect of irradiation on the growth of okra plants was determined through
planting 40 seeds 10 of which served as control while the remaining 30 were subjected to
varying durations of ultraviolet light. A total of 10 seeds per treatment were subjected
under UV rays for 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours for treatments 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
The plants were observed and measured every other day for around a month from
October 10-November 18, 2016 by the end of the experiment results indicated that
treatment 2 yielded the highest average plant height followed by treatment 3. The control
showed the shortest average plant height and number of surviving plants while treatment
1 showed no signs of germination at all. This indicates that a right amount of radiation is
needed in order to achieve the maximum effect of mutation as too much or too little
damages the plant.

Mutations are permanent changes in the genetic material of an individual and as

such can be passed on to succeeding generations. They can be classified based on the

level of change in which they occur be it either at the genomic level, involving

aberrations such us duplication or lack thereof of sets of chromosomes as well as changes

in the chromosome structure, or at the gene level where it involves abnormalities in base

pair substitution due to flawed DNA replication or through insertion and deletions of

certain nucleotides (Mendioro, Laude, Diaz, Mendoza & Ramirez, 2013).

Mutations are often identified with abnormalities and thought of as a negative or

potentially harming phenomenon. Well it is true in a sense that diseases arise from

abnormalities in the genetic make-up of an individual such as Down syndrome,

Phenylketonuria and others included among the vast menagerie of diseases associated

with defective genes. In spite of this, mutation serves as a major player or functions as a

raw material for the evolutionary process. It suggests genotypes of a population and those

which are considered unfit by the selective force are cut off from the gene pool while the
rest are considered to be favored and are allowed to prevail and procreate (Ramirez,

Mendioro & Laude, 2013).

Mutagenic agents are responsible for inducing changes in the genetic material of

an individual, though mutations can and is also naturally occurring spontaneously.

Common mutagenic agents include chemical mutagens such as Colchicine which inhibits

spindle fiber formation leading to the doubling of chromosome sets while others such as

Nitrous acid, affects base pair substitution. Exposure to extreme conditions has also been

noted to cause a high frequency of polyploidy cells in plants. Other agents would be; cell

regeneration, which also form polyploidy callus tissue, and hybridization. This study

however, is only limited with ionizing radiation as an agent of mutation (Ramirez et al.,


Ramirez et al. (2013) also notes that ionizing radiation is known to cause breaks

within the DNA strand and thus are efficient in killing single stranded viruses (lecture). In

this study, ultraviolet rays from are used to induce mutation in Okra (Abelmoschus

esculentus). Okra, a member of the Malvaceaea family, is a common vegetable and can

germinate at a fast rate and are easy to grow making it an ideal test plant.

Mardocheo Crispino (2013), a previous Bio 30 student, had also performed a

similar experiment that deals with irradiation and its effect on plant growth and

germination albeit with few changes in the parameters that have been used in this study.

He subjected corn kernels (Zea mays) under varying doses of gamma radiation as

treatments with 10, 30 and 50 kilorads for treatments 1, 2 and 3 respectively. By the end

of the observation period, he noted that 10 kr irradiated seeds grew up to be higher or

longer than that of the control while the remaining treatments exhibited little to no growth
at all. This indicates that small doses of irradiation give the highest survival rate and

germination of seed while higher doses would inhibit growth and decrease germination.

Data from previous experiments lead to the formulation of the hypothesis;

Smaller doses of irradiation would positively affect plant growth while prolonged

exposure damages the plant.

This experiment conducted from October 10 November 18, 2016 at the Institute

of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Banos, aimed to analyze and

observe the effect of induced mutation on okra plant growth and germination. The

specific objectives of this study were:

1. To describe the effect of irradiation on the average height of okra plant.

2. To explain the possible mechanisms behind the observed effect of the

irradiation on plant growth and germination.


In gauging the effects of irradiation on plant growth a total of 40 seeds were used

30 of which were used to for varying treatments whilst the remaining 10 served as the

control. Of the 30 experimental seeds 10 of each were exposed to UV light at different

durations, at 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours for treatments 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The seeds

were then planted in a plot of land and were observed and measured through the use of a

ruler every other day from October 10 November 18, 2016. Plastic spoons were used as

markers for the seeds. Measurements were recorded on provided data sheets.


As seen in Table 1, results show that seeds exposed to 1 hour of sunlight did not

germinate at all but the remaining treatments show a superior or longer growth than that

of the control. It took 4 days for the seeds to grow. By the end of the experiment,

treatment 2 yielded the highest average plant height with 8.4cm and the most plants to

survive or persist after around a month of observation with 4 plants. This was followed

by treatment 3 with an average plant height of 7.36cm and a total of 3 remaining plants.

The control exhibited the shortest plant height with 3.98cm and the lowest number of

surviving plants with 2.

Insert table*

These results are explained through mutation induced by the sunlights UV rays.

These rays cause the production of thymine dimers that when not repaired by the excision

repair system, become mutations (Ramirez et al., 2013)

Lower doses would incur abnormalities such as unusual growth patterns like

gigantism which was shown by treatments 2 and 3s excessive plant height and rapid

growth. Treatment 1 is an anomaly, it could mean that very small doses would also have a

negative effect on plant growth assuming that no human error has been done such as

failure to retrieve the seeds after basking it for an hour or if other factors were not in play

like type of soil and herbivore damage.

However, a decrease in average plant height was observe in treatment 3 compared

to treatment 2 but still is superior to the results exhibited by the control. This could mean

that beyond 2 hours of irradiation is unhealthy for the plant. To summarize, utilization of

mutagenic agents follow the Goldilocks principle wherein to achieve the desired

phenotypic effect the amount or dosage of irradiation should be just right.


The effect of irradiation on okra plant growth was determined. A total of 40 seeds

were utilized, 10 for the control while 30 seeds served as treatments. Each treatment used

10 seeds which were exposed to different durations of UV light with 1 hour, 2 hours, and

3 hours for treatments 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The seeds were then planted in a plot and

were observed every other day for around a month from October 10 November 18. By

the end of the experiment, results show that treatments 2 and 3 exhibited longer plant

height compared with the control while seeds in treatment 1 did not grow at all.

The end measurement of treatment 3 however, showed a shorter plant height than

treatment 2 meaning that prolonged exposure to radiation does more damage to the plant

while very small doses of it could also have the same effect as seen in the results of
treatment 1, if we accept that no human error has been done or any other factor was

included to affect the experiment.

Therefore, the hypothesis is accepted in that although mutation causes positive

growth on okra, to utilize it at its full potential the right amount of irradiation is required

to achieve the desired results. It is recommended that further studies be performed under

more controlled environments to minimize errors. It is also suggested that a longer

observation time is needed to note and compare other morphological characteristics of the

plants such as differences in untreated and treated flowers, fruits and even seeds. More

treatments going beyond 3 hours of exposure is also recommended to observe at what

point or amount of irradiation would severely damage plant growth.


Crispino, M.Y. (2013). Effect of Irradiation on the Growth and Germination of the Corn
(Zea mays) Essays. Retrieved November 26, 2016 from
Mendioro, M.S., Laude, R.P., Diaz, M.G.Q., Mendoza, J.C., Ramirez, D.A. (2013).
Genetics a Laboratory Manual. 13th revision. San Pablo City, Laguna: 7 Lakes
Printing press.

Ramirez, D.A., Mendioro, M.S., Laude, R.P. (2013). Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology. Lectures in Genetics. 10th ed. San Pablo City, Laguna: 7 Lakes
Printing press.