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Is UV Causing Genetic Mutation?

This week's question is a bit different, it's not my answering one of your questions, but a response to an article I wrote a few weeks asking if anyone has experienced the same problem I had with seeds not growing true to the variety planted.

A fellow in New Hampshire had read my article on the Nature's Way website and he wrote: "Over the last few years, I have been having the same problem you mentioned. Many of the seeds I plant grow into plants other than the ones ordered. After trying different seed houses and still having problems, and hearing about your problems I started doing some research online.

I'd like to recommend you go to and read a BBC Radio article, "Sunburn risk to future plants", could this be the reason we are having problems with our seeds, not the seed growers or seed houses mixing them up? If this is happening, I fear farmers and home gardeners could be facing major crises."

After a little trip to the above website, I learned that Swiss and German researches believe that the thinning in the ozone layer could inflict lasting genetic damage on some plant species.

When laboratory plants were exposed to high levels of ultraviolet-B light, the kind that is responsible for tumors in humans who sunbathe to long, scientist say they saw the usual effect of bleached leaves and stunted growth, and they also observed a significant number of the plants experienced genetic mutations in their reproductive cells, meaning that the changes were handed down to the plant's descendants.

To test the effect on the plant's DNA, the team of scientist inserted a so-called "reporter" gene into some tobacco plants and a laboratory plant called Arabidopsis Thaliana.
The reporter gene caused the plant cells to stain blue wherever their DNA suffered changes after the radiation exposure from the special lamps. In a small number of cases, the researchers also found staining in the offspring of exposed plants showing that damage had occurred in the parent's germ (reproductive) cells.

This website has quite a few articles on ultraviolet light and the increasing loss of our ozone protection, I highly recommend it for any student studying this process, any organic gardener or environmentalist.