In this study, the genotoxic effects of ethion were investigated in the mitotic cell division of Allium cepa. Primary roots of A. cepa were treated with various concentrations (25, 50, 75, and 100%) of ethion solutions for different duration of time. The result revealed that increase in the concentration and duration of treatment decreases the mitotic indices. 24 h treatment at 100% concentration of ethion induced lowest mitotic index (20.08%) than that of the control (36.37%). The percentage of chromosomal abnormalities in different mitotic stages was significantly generally higher than that of the control in all the treatment period and concentrations. These abnormalities appeared in various degrees depending on the treatment duration and concentrations of ethion. The abnormalities in dividing cell reached a maximum value of 11.30% after 12 h of treatment at 75% concentration. The type of abnormalities produced were scattered prophase, non-synchronized condensation of chromosome, disturbed prophase, equatorial plate shifting, sticky chromosomes, C-metaphase and sticky metaphase. Overall, it can be concluded that ethion has a potential genotoxic effects on mitotic divisions in A. cepa root tip cells. So, it will be necessary to test the mutagenic potential of ethion on a more intensive and extensive basis especially on non-target systems before it is recommended for wider use in agricultural field.
Key words: Allium cepa, chromosome aberration, ethion, mitotic index, genotoxicity, root tip.
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