Current issue: 53(4)
Under compilation: 54(1)
Witches' brooms of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) have been suggested to be genetic rather than caused by bacteria. Seeds were collected from cones growing in Scots pine witches' brooms. More than half (43) of the 84 seedlings grown from the seeds were stunted and resembled witches' broom. The growth of the normal and witches' broom like seedlings were compared. When the seedlings were 8 years old, the normal seedlings were in average 37 cm and the witches' broom like seedlings 8 cm high. The result supports the theory that the witches' broom like growth was inherited in the Scots pine seedlings.
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The study was carried out in order to find out the changes taking place in germination of seeds in certain tree species as a function of gamma irradiation, the height growth of the seedlings produced and the types of phenotypic mutants possibly found in the generation that had received radiation. The tree species studied were Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies (L.) H. Karst., Betula verrucosa (Betula pendula Roth), B. Pubescens Ehrh., Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. and Alnus incana (L.) Moench.
Soaked seeds that had received a rather small dose of radiation germinated usually better than storage-dry seeds, B. pubescens being an exception. The damages observed in germination, height growth and the relative number of mutants were greater the higher the irradiation doses. The LD50 dose (germination, 28 days) was as follows in the case of the different tree species (storage dry/soaked): P. Sylvestris 1,500-2,000/2500-3,000, P. abies 1,000-1,500/4,000-4,500, B. pendula 9,500-10,000/7,000-7,500, B. pubescens >10,000/7,500-8,000 and A. Glutinosa 10,000/8,500-9,000 rad. Mass production of different mutants of deciduous trees for ornamental purposes, for example, appears to be easy using gamma-irradiation. On the other hand, the possibility of increasing tree growth remains open for further study.
The PDF includes a summary in English.