What is Mutation breeding?

Bud mutation in Indian banana is very common perhaps due to spontaneous rearrangement of chromosomes in somatic meristem and structural re-assortment. A great majority of edible bananas are triploids, a condition that interferes with normal equilibrium of plants and may provide the requisite stimulus to structural rearrangement of chromosomes, leading ultimately to the evolution of a new gene complex. Several natural sports of well established commercial clones have been recognized e.g) High gate (AAA) is a semi-dwarf mutant of Gros Michel (AAA), Motta Poovan (AAB) is a sport of Poovan (AAB), Ayiranka Rasthali a sport of Rasthali (or Silk), Barhari Malbhog is a sport of Malbhog, Krishna Vazhai is a natural mutant of Virupakshi (or Pome), and Sambrani Monthan (ABB), a mutant of Monthan (ABB). 

In Nendran, more than six mutants have been recognized. One of these, Moongil, has undergone such a radical change that there is no male phase and a bunch has only one or two hands with biggest size fruits. Attu Nendran, Nana Nendran, Myndoli, Velathan and Nenu Nendran are a few mutants which have been selected for one or the other desirable character.

Similarly, Ambalakadali and Erachi vazhai are mutants of Red Banana.

The Kunnan variety of Malabar has provided a few mutants known as Thattilla Kunnan (male phase absent), Veneetu Kunnan, Adakka Kunnan and Thaen Kunnan.

From cv.Monthan, Sambal Monthan, Nalla Bontha, Batheesa, Sambrani Monthan, Pidi Monthan and Thellatti Bontha have been recognized as sports. 

Induced mutations have now been used in banana breeding: FATOM-1, an early flowering mutant derived from in vitro gamma irradiated meristem culture of cv. Grand Nain has been released in Malaysia. It is a selection from M1V4 generation, which flowers within 9 months, as against 15 months in the parent material. It yield a bunch weight of 26 kg/plant as against 23 kg/plant in cv. Grand Nain.

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