The Institute of Genetics, Physiology and Plant Protection is a scientific center in which for several years experimental mutagenesis has been applied in research, based on which several varieties of plants have been created.
Induced mutagenesis dates back to the early twentieth century. After the 1950s, a wide range of gamma-ray radiators was developed and applied for use in theoretical and experimental studies. Due to genetic effects, gamma rays have had extensive application in plant diversification. Currently, about 1023 of 2570 mutant plant varieties are obtained using ionizing radiation. However, gamma sources (based on radioactive isotopes Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137) present security risks.
Current legislation applies provisions that limit the use of gamma rays for various purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) promotes a global nuclear safety and security framework to protect people, society and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. The IAEA has demonstrated and promotes the opportunity to use X-rays in experimental mutagenesis.
Recognizing the international policies, requirements and responsibility for radiological safety, with the financial support of the Radiological Safety Office, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Department of Energy, USA, within IGFPP was implemented the implementation of technical assistance project aimed at using technologies alternatives to experimental mutagenesis.
During the project, the gamma irradiation installation (RHM-Gamma 20) was replaced with an ionizing radiator (X-ray, RS-2400, Rad Source Technologies) in order to ensure radiological safety. The distributor of the equipment was the Belarusian-Russian closed joint stock company "Isotope Technologies".
The X-ray radiator (RS-2400) offers the possibility to apply ionizing sources in biological research (irradiation of seeds, seedlings, calluses, insect sterilization) in inducing diversity and developing innovative processes for creating new genotypes.
The promotion of alternative technologies of experimental mutagenesis will ensure the increase of the degree of radiological safety in accordance with the international policies of radiological safety.