The radiation mutation technique has been extensively used for many years and has nothing in common with genetic engineering or modification, in that it does not seek to introduce new or different genetic material into plant varieties, but simply to enhance their desirable qualities and diminish weaknesses such as sensitivity to climatic conditions;
- such mutant varieties are officially released by governmental authorities after review;
- it does not involve any systematic irradiation of food items to be sold to consumers (such as pasta);
- it does not adversely impact human health;
- the evolution of plants is a constant, natural phenomenon associated with spontaneous mutations (e.g. may be brought about by cosmic or ultra-violet rays) but can also be encouraged or accelerated scientifically where there are sound reasons for doing so;
- Please use these links for more information about the technique and IAEA involvement and lists of officially released mutant varieties;
- further information can be obtained from the Public Information Division of the IAEA.