Induction of variability through mutagenesis in opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.)


Abstract: Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.), an important plant of the family Papaveraceae, is valued for its extensive medicinal properties due to the presence of more than 80 different alkaloids, which are products of the polygenic interaction of different genes involved in plant metabolism. Broadening the genetic base through induced mutation is a supplementary tool that can lead to the development of genetic variability. The present study was undertaken to generate a broad genetic variability through mutation breeding using physical doses (gamma radiation of kR10 to kR50 at an interval of kR10), chemical doses (EMS of 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, and 0.8% (w/v)), and combined doses (gamma and EMS) of mutagen, and to evaluate the plants’ advance generations for different traits as well as for specific alkaloids, especially thebaine and codeine. The kR30 dose, which caused the highest results for all 3 genetic parameters (GCV, h2, and GA%) for 7 traits, was the most effective in NBRI-1. Similarly, the kR10 + 0.4% EMS dose proved to be the best for NBRI-5, affecting 10 different characters. The kR10 + 0.4% EMS dose created positive mutations for high thebaine and codeine content and low morphine content, while the kR40 + 0.6% EMS dose did the same for narcotine. The study also confirmed that the pathway of morphinan alkaloids and narcotine formation was bifurcated at the lower combined dose (kR30 and kR10 + 0.4% EMS), which was effective in causing micromutation in morphinan alkaloid pathways. The higher combined dose (kR40 + 0.4% EMS) affected narcotine production.

Keywords: Alkaloids, genetic variability, induced mutation, Papaver somniferum, thebaine

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