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Nuclear Explained – Seeds in Space for Food Security on Earth (Re-run)

Nuclear Explained

What happens when seeds are exposed to microgravity, extreme low temperatures and cosmic radiation? The IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched seeds into space to find out.

The experiment aims to enhance the development of crops that can withstand the effects of climate change and to increase food security on Earth.

It is based on almost 60 years of experience of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in speeding up plant mutation breeding research using radiation to develop new crop varieties. This episode is a rerun that explains the benefits of plant mutation breeding, which uses radiation to accelerate the natural process of spontaneous genetic variation. 


  • Hugo Campos, Deputy Director General for Research and Development at the International Potato Center, Peru
  • Lydia Horn, Plant Breeder and Coordinator of the Zero-Emission Research Initiative, University of Namibia
  • Shoba Sivasankar, Head of Plant Breeding and Genetics at the IAEA

The experts explain the difference between mutation breeding and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how more resilient and productive crop varieties are developed with the help of radiation. This episode kicks off our three-part series about nuclear and food.

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