Flower bush shrunk by scientists

Korean scientists have used radiation to shrink the size of mugunghwa bushes in half.
The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said yesterday it developed a new species of mugunghwa, the national flower of Korea, using gamma radioactive waves to alter the genes in the species “Hongdansim No. 2.” After three years of cultivation tests, the new species was recently registered by the National Seed Management Office.
Named “kkoma,” meaning “little kid,” the 5-year-old mutated mugunghwa bush can grow to 50 cm (19.6 inches) in height, making it easier to tend indoors than the full-sized bush. The flowers and leaves are also half the size of regular mugunghwa.
The institute manages some 200 genetic sources of Korean and foreign mugunghwa to develop new species. Before “kkoma,” however, changes were mostly in the color or size of the flower.
“We will use the radiation to develop new species of Korean plants for floricultural and landscaping purposes,” said Kang Si-yong, a researcher on the radiation project.
Mugunghwa is known in the West as the Rose of Sharon. The flowers, which grow on a bush, can be found nationwide.

by Wohn Dong-hee


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