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Short Radiation Pulses for Genetic Research


Application of Nano- and Sub-Nanosecond Pulses of Electron and X-ray Radiation Generated by Small-Size Megavolt Accelerators for Selection and Genetic Researches on Fruit-and-Berry Cultures

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-RAD/Radiobiology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • AGR-OTH/Other/Agriculture

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Novozhilov V V

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Nizhni Novgorod State Agricultural Academy, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod


  • Kyushu University / Biotron Institute, Japan, Fukuoka

Project summary

The goal of the Project is to study potentialities of efficient application of pulsing electron and X-ray radiation of nano- and sub-nanosecond duration as variability inductor in selection and genetic researches on fruit-and-berry cultures (sea-buckthorn).

The realization of the above goal is provided by the created and applied in RFNC-VNIIEF small megavolt pulse accelerators MIN-1 and SPIN-2 that were used in the works dealing with the development and testing of nuclear weapons and military hardware components.

Basic advantages of MIN-1 accelerator are as follows:

– capacity to generate electron and X-ray radiation of 10-ns duration;

– high radiation dose rate (more than 1012 Gy/c for electron radiation and of the order of 108 Gy/s – for X-ray radiation);
– wide energy spectrum;
– stability of radiation parameters;
– uniformity of radiation fields;
– possibility of hundreds of work start-ups a day;
– ecological safety in the course of operation.

Overall dimensions of MIN-1 accelerator: Ø 260×900 mm, weight – 70kg.

The SPIN-2 accelerator generates electron and X-ray radiation pulses of sub-nanosecond duration (0.15ns). Such duration of radiation pulses is compatible to the relaxation time of ions and some chemical compounds formed under the effect of radiation. Thus, the manifestation of ultra-short pulses specific effect to biological objects that deals most probably with principally new fundamental aspects of radiobiology, biophysics genetics and selection is quite probable.

Basing on the data of FAO and IAEA during the last 25 years there were created 1,200 sorts of plants on the basis of induced mutations. However, the use in the experimental mutagenesis of the known variability inductors (ionizing radiation and chemical mutagens) in fruit-and berry cultures selection has not yet met with success. Thus, the search and study of new factors (inductors) of variability increasing the efficiency of selection methods is a topical problem in selection and genetic investigations.

It is no mere chance that sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is selected to be an object of researches. This plant is noted for its increased radiation resistance and is an ideal raw material for ecologically pure and waste-free technologies. Nowadays wide spreading of sea-buckthorn is retarded by the lack of varieties suitable for mechanized harvesting.

To solve the set-up tasks the sea-buckthorn pollen, seeds and sprouts will be subject to irradiation. The highly important stage in realizing the project is connected with the research of:

– the effect of nano- and sub-nanosecond duration electron and X-ray radiation on viability and fertility of irradiated pollen;

– its effect on the development of ovary and fruit, as well as with the carrying out of X-ray analysis of seeds, the investigation of morphological peculiarities of seeds and sprouts, cytological investigation of sprouts meristematic tissues at different stages of seedlings development in nurseries.

The advent of unique accelerating equipment makes it possible – with the aid of ultra-short pulses and high dose rate – to expect for an absolutely new spectrum of mutations in plants. This will make it possible to solve the tasks that are inaccessible or extremely difficult to be solved with the use of other selection methods.

The importance of this Project is defined by the following:

– novelty of the research because in modern scientific literature the data on biological effects of nano- and sub-nanosecond duration ionizing radiation is missing;

– there have not been used as variability inductors in the experimental mutagenesis practice the ultra-short pulses of electron and X-ray radiation;

– the new variability inductor will make it possible to get the forms of plants characterized by high adaptation capacities that are of great interest for selection.


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