a1 Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, University of Technology and Life Sciences, al. Kaliskiego 7, 85-789 Bydgoszcz, Poland
The quality of a seed (germination and vigour) is established during its development and maturation, but can be improved by post-harvest processing and pre-sowing treatments. During commercial seed production, maturity is usually estimated visually, relying on experience of the growers, but seed researchers are working to find molecular markers that can be applied easily to help in establishing optimal harvest time. One marker is cell cycle activity expressed as DNA replication in the seeds, analysed by flow cytometry. This fast and accurate method for the estimation of DNA content in plant nuclei allows detection of nuclei at different replication stages in different seed tissues and thus makes it possible to follow changes in the physiological state of a seed. DNA replication, as a late event during germination, can also be used to mark completion of germination and transition to early seedling growth. This information can be useful in the evaluation of seed quality and for following the advancement of priming. Flow cytometric analysis of ploidy can be also used as a basis for control of purity of some polyploid species seed lots.
(Received August 25 2008)
(Accepted November 26 2008)