EFFECTS OF 60COBALT IONIZING IRRADIATION ON GROWTH AND POLYSOME CONTENT IN PISUM SATIVUM L. `ALASKA'

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  • 1 Carbon High School, Price, UT 84501

This research tested the hypothesis that 60Co ionizing irradiation degrades polysomes to monosomes, a process that reduces growth of Pisum sativum seedlings. Dry and imbibed seeds and 5-day-old seedlings were exposed to 1.8, 3.6, 7.2, 14.4, or 28.8 krad of 60Co irradiation. Immediately after irradiation treatments, dry and imbibed seeds were planted, and later seedlings were harvested and analyzed. Five 1-cm root-tip samples from 5-day-old seedlings were crushed and layered onto 15% to 60% sucrose gradients and centrifuged for 55 min. The samples were processed through an ISCO ultraviolet chart maker. The monosome and polysome weights were read and analyzed. The monosome content was greater in the irradiated 5-day-old seedlings than in seedlings from dry and imbibed seeds. The growth of 5-day-old irradiated seedlings and seedlings from imbibed seeds was less than that of seedlings from dry seeds. The reduced growth of the irradiated seedlings suggests damage to the polysomes. When protein synthesis in plant cells is altered, perhaps through RNA decoding mechanisms, growth may be partially or completely arrested. Using sensitive plants to establish the injurious effects of ionizing irradiation on living organisms can educate and alert society to the detrimental effects of overexposure to irradiation such as that caused by nuclear accidents.

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