2018 Volume 68 Issue 1 Pages 71-78
Ornamental plants that have a rich variety of flower colors and shapes are highly prized in the commercial flower market, and therefore, mutant cultivars that produce different types of flowers while retaining their growth habits are in demand. Furthermore, mutation breeding is well suited for ornamental plants because many species can be easily vegetatively propagated, facilitating the production of spontaneous and induced mutants. The use of ion beams in mutation breeding has rapidly expanded since the 1990s in Japan, with the prospect that more ion beam-specific mutants will be generated. There are currently four irradiation facilities in Japan that provide ion beam irradiation for plant materials. The development of mutant cultivars using ion beams has been attempted on many ornamental plants thus far, and some species have been used to investigate the process of mutagenesis. In addition, progress is being made in clarifying the genetic mechanism for expressing important traits, which will probably result in the development of more efficient mutation breeding methods for ornamental plants. This review not only provides examples of successful mutation breeding results using ion beams, but it also describes research on mutagenesis and compares results of ion beam and gamma ray breeding using ornamental plants.