Improvement of seed quality may greatly benefit from the characterization of genes involved in seed development and seed germination. To study the effect of genes on seed quality, a comparison was made among genetically different lines. Ideally, the genetic difference should be known at the DNA sequence level. For this purpose Arabidopsis thaliana offers a potentially powerful model system. The complete genome sequence of this plant species will soon become available, a large amount of genetic variation is present and daily new mutants are produced. To exploit Arabidopsis as a model system for genetic analysis of seed quality, appropriate seed quality assays were developed. Several mutants and ecotypes were compared for storability, using a controlled deterioration assay. Large variation was observed with regard to this trait. Seeds from abscisic acid deficient or insensitive mutants deteriorated faster compared to wild-type seeds. Seeds from the ecotype Landsberg erecta and the ecotype Cape Verde Island differ in dormancy, controlled deterioration tolerance and their content of raffinose and stachyose. A quantitative trait loci analysis of recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between these two ecotypes showed that stachyose and raffinose content were linked to a single locus in the genome. The traits for dormancy, controlled deterioration tolerance and content of the sugars were not genetically linked. A very strong reduction in stachyose and raffinose content had no effect on the controlled deterioration tolerance of the seeds. It is concluded that Arabidopsis offers a powerful tool to study genetic variation in seed quality and the effect of modification of seed composition on seed quality.
|Title of host publication||Seed biology : advances and applications : proceedings of the sixth international workshop on seeds, Merida, Mexico, 1999|
|Editors||M. Black, K.J. Bradford, J. Vasques-Ramos|
|Place of Publication||Wallingford|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|