Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 5, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Germination is fundamental to obtain a harvestable crop. Good stands of sugar beet may be more difficult to achieve than most other crops. Moisture, temperature, and impedance by the seed coat and the heavy soil characteristic of many growing regions affect the ability of beets to emerge. Large differences between germination as labeled on seed packages and field conditions undoubtedly are due to stress conditions experienced by the germinating seed. An approach we take to study variety differences in germination allows prediction of field emergence by germinating seeds in aqueous solutions. These assays are done rapidly, with minimal training, and are reproducible. Exploitation of this system for more detailed understanding of genetically controlled physiological responses is helping to understand the complex nature of germination in relation to the environment. Actual field counts have proven that differences between varieties exist for abiotic-related emergence problems. Gene expression in aqueous assays show large differences in the numbers and types of genes expressed under different treatments. These genes are not expressed in the traditional germination tests. Emergence differences between varieties have been traced to the action of a single gene acting early during germination. Knowledge of this gene and its effects are helping to define vigor and its relationship to seedling disease resistance.