GAMMA IRRADIATION EFFECTS ON OIL PALM (ELAIES GUINENSIS JACQ.) POLLEN VIABILITY, FRUITS AND BUNCH FORMATIONS
Assessing performance and genetic diversity of the wild material of oil palm is important for under- standing genetic structure of natural oil palm populations towards improvement of the crops. This in-formation is important for oil palm breeding programs, and also for continued ex-situ conservation of the germplasm and breeding program in Malaysia. Mutation induction is one of the approaches in creating variants for selection in the breeding program. In this study, the effect of irradiated pollen towards pollen viability, bunches formation and number of parthenocarpic fruits were evaluated. Elaies guineensis Jacq. pollens were exposed to series of acute gamma radiation at dose 0, 10, 20, 40, 50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 100 and 2000 Gy . Pollen viability and pollen tube formation were disrupted in which unable the pollen to reach the ovule. At this stage, embryo was aborted towards formation of parthenocarpic fruits and rotten bunches. The study suggested that at low levels of irradiation i.e. < 200 Gy, generative nucleus partially damage and it is still maintaining capacity of fertilizing the egg cells for hybridization. It is important for breeders in understanding this finding towards novel variants of oil palm via mutation induction.