Determination of mutagenic sensitivity to gamma rays in ginseng (Panax ginseng) dehiscent seeds, roots, and somatic embryos

  • Jung-Woo Lee
  • Ick-Hyun Jo
  • Jang-Uk Kim
  • Chi-Eun Hong
  • Kyong-Hwan Bang
  • Young-Doo ParkEmail author
Research Report


Ginseng (Panax ginseng) has a low genetic diversity and a narrow pool of genetic resources. Mutagenesis is one of the most powerful methods for inducing genetic variation in this species, but little research has been performed in ginseng. In this study, various tissues, including dehiscent seeds, 1-year-old roots, and somatic embryos were irradiated at different doses of gamma rays (20–400 Gy and zero dose as a control) to determine the most optimal concentration and tissues for the successful use of mutagenesis in ginseng breeding. The results revealed that high gamma doses (> 100 Gy) were detrimental to all irradiated tissues. A gradual and significant reduction in germination, emergence, and seedling growth were found as gamma irradiation dose increased. The reduction in survival rates and seedling growth by irradiation at serial doses showed that the LD50 of ginseng was 20–80 Gy, although the irradiation doses were tissue dependent. Based on our results, the optimal doses of gamma rays for inducing mutation in ginseng are < 20, 40, and 60–80 Gy for 1-year-old roots, dehiscent seeds, and somatic embryos, respectively. Given the fact that ginseng somatic embryos are less sensitive to gamma rays than other tissues, the combination of in vitro culture and mutagenesis could be more effective than the conventional method for mutation breeding in ginseng. These results provide a good basis for radiation sensitivity of ginseng and are useful as a guideline for ginseng mutation breeding.


Gamma rays Mutagenesis Panax ginseng 



This work was carried out with the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01267901) of the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

Author contributions

Jung-Woo Lee and Ick-Hyun Jo contributed equally to this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors confirm that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Horticultural Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung-Woo Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ick-Hyun Jo
    • 1
  • Jang-Uk Kim
    • 1
  • Chi-Eun Hong
    • 1
  • Kyong-Hwan Bang
    • 1
  • Young-Doo Park
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Herbal Crop Research, National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science (NIHHS)Rural Development Administration (RDA)EumseongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Horticultural BiotechnologyKyung Hee UniversityYonginRepublic of Korea

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