Fig breeding programs through conventional methods are rare in many countries, e.g. Brazil, since the wasp Blastophaga psenes, which is responsible for the natural pollination, is not present. For these cases a low cost alternative for the breeding program is the induction of physical mutagenesis by radiation. The sensivity of fig explant buds of different sizes to gamma radiation were evaluated. Fig plantlets "Roxo de Valinhos" already established in vitro were classified by size in 2.5 to 4.5 cm, 5 to 9 7 cm and 8 to 10 cm long, and irradiated with: 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 Gy doses. After irradiation each plantlet was cut in pieces containing one-bud and transferred to WPM culture medium, according to the bud position: medium and apical. Explants were grown in a growth room for 90 days when, explant mortality, root formation, height of aerial part, number of buds and plantlet weight were evaluated. Doses of up to 50 Gy do not cause plantlet death and that doses larger than 30 Gy inhibit root formation. Therefore, the 30 Gy dose may be recommended for the irradiation of fig plantlets larger than 2.5 cm.
mutation; breeding; tissue culture