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ARS Home » Midwest Area » East Lansing, Michigan » Sugarbeet and Bean Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #233890

Title: Seedling vigor in Beta vulgaris: The artistry of germination

item McGrath, Jon

Submitted to: Journal of Sugarbeet Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2009
Publication Date: 2/24/2009
Citation: Naegele, R.P., McGrath, J.M. 2009. Seedling vigor in Beta vulgaris: The artistry of germination. Journal of Sugarbeet Research. 46:72-73.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Emergence and stand establishment through the first 10 weeks after planting continue to be primary concerns of sugar beet growers. Our goal is to understand the genes and genetics of seedling vigor in order to overcome beet’s inherent disadvantages of small seed size and encapsulation in a corky fruit. Vigor is defined here as the ability of seedlings to tolerate adverse environments. Previous work showed an apparent induction of vigor via hydrogen peroxide that results in mobilization of stored lipid reserves for heterotrophic growth in good emergers. That work only examined 4-day old seedlings that had erupted from the seedball. Events that contribute to this vigor certainly precede this stage of growth, while the germinating seed is still encapsulated. In this work we seek to examine these early events via a number of methods in order to define critical transitions between physiological stages of dormant seed, imbibition, resumption of biochemical activity, and growth. Problems of accessing the true seed within the intact seedball needed to be surmounted prior to analyses of physiological stages, and a simple method was developed. Using this and similar methods, the activity of specific genes was measured via quantitative PCR, including hormone responsive and signal transduction candidates. Results show that marked changes occur during the development of the seedling prior to germination.