I became interested in mutagenesis after reading about the Optimara EverFloris Space Violets program and eventually finding my way to the Wikipedia:Mutation_breeding page on May 27th 2019 where I wrote "might try this" on dobbs.town.

I began by trying to acquire a chemical mutagen EMS, with plans to dispose of it with a NaOH solution, but gave up after one attempt and the order being denied. Probably for the best! I continued to scour the internet for stories of people attempting to mutate seeds or something like yeast at home. I found someone who would bring seeds to their dentist to have them x-ray seeds as well as someone considering usage of UV-C light to induce mutations.

I knew I had read a way to use old vacuum tubes hooked to high voltage power supplies to create dangerous x-rays. Using the power of the Internet, searching, deal hounding, researching and designing (still in progress) I've been able to gather enough parts to have a "Mutagen Chamber" ready in the next few days. The last thing I needed was lead shielding. I did a quick test run with one of the 2x2a rectifier tubes and a cheap HV stun gun module ordered from a company in China off eBay. The Geiger counter alarm went off signalling over 100cpm and I switched the power supply off. It was a variable power supply so I wasn't even using the full HV output, I was slowly turning it up listening to the chirps steadily increase in frequency of occurrence until the alarm started beeping.

I found a listing for 10x 2x2a tubes on ebay for $26 shipped, making it $2.60 per tube. The HV taser modules (I ordered 2 since I've heard they have a tendency to burn out) were bought for about $2 each. The control circuit is still being designed, I need to figure out better isolation between the microcontroller and the HV module, there's just too much noise, or maybe I need to figure out a more robust timing circuit because I want to run pulses where it's on for 2 seconds off for 2, something like that so the tube or HV module doesn't overheat. The lead is 33 pounds of 1/16" lead sheet roll, was able to get that shipped for a total of $50, the priciest thing so far.

I used FreeCAD to design and 3D printed a socket and "germplasm ring", as well as a cathode electrode connector so I can simply jam the HV module wires into the plastic connectors and start getting x-rays.

Hope to get more of this down and organized. I've got a first generation of 'Wisconsin Fast Plant' seed as well. I want to get a petite population going so I can grow a lot of plants dense and check for mutations. Would be AMAZING to get some viable morphological changes.



I've got my hands on some 1/16" scrap lead sheet, I had to soak it in water to get some paper off of it, the glue dissolved easily.

rolling cutting sheet prototype

The "welding" I attempted with the propane torch didn't go so well, I'm actually thinking of securing everything with duct tape... should work! I also want to design a detachable ring that I put onto the lid and lower into the chamber to make the fiddly loading/extracting of the seeds easier.

Notes and reading:Mutagenesis?