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Title: Assessment of Variation in Seed Longevity within Rye, Wheat and the Intergeneric Hybrid Triticale

item Walters, Christina
item Hill, Lisa
item Wheeler, Lana

Submitted to: Seed Science Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2009
Publication Date: 8/1/2009
Citation: Niedzielski, M., Walters, C.T., Luczak, W., Hill, L.M., Wheeler, L.J., Puchalski, J. Assessment of Variation in Seed Longevity within Rye, Wheat and the Intergeneric Hybrid Triticale. Seed Science Research. 19:213-224.

Interpretive Summary: One of the most difficult aspects of genebanking seeds is knowing how long the seeds will survive in storage BEFORE they are put into storage. Seeds of different species have characteristic longevities, but the variation within that characteristic is large. This means that there are genetic and growth factors that affect how well a seed stores. These factors are poorly understood. This paper is the first in a series that investigates how to measure within-species variability and what types of properties within the seed control it.

Technical Abstract: Understanding the mechanisms by which seeds deteriorate in storage and the genetic and environmental factors that modify seed aging rates require reliable measurement of the seed longevity phenotype and good estimates of within-species variation. To that end, this study compares seed longevity among 50 cultivars of wheat, rye and the intergeneric hybrid triticale. Experiments were conducted in two independent laboratories under relatively dry and humid conditions and viability was monitored for over 6 years. Longevity is expressed as time to 50% loss in germination (P50), which was calculated from Avrami models of kinetics in visco-elastic matrices. For all relative humidity (RH) conditions, average longevity was greatest for wheat and least for rye seeds with intermediate longevity observed for triticale. Cultivars responded differently to dry and humid storage conditions. Poor correlation between P50s measured at high and low RH (r2 < 0.45) bring further into question the utility of high humidity ‘accelerated aging’ tests as a means to measure the longevity phenotype for moderate and good storage conditions. Moisture-dependent variation in response to storage suggests that differences among seed lots is related to mechanical or structural properties of the grains and not to particular gene products that serve as substrates or protectants of aging reactions.