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Stress integrated tests and cytological analyses reveal Brassica villosa subsp. drepanensis seed quality decrease upon long-term storage


Under stress integrated germination test (SIGT), seeds undergo osmo-saline stresses, which enable to detect differences in vigour of long-term stored seeds with high germination percentage (G%). The quality of Brassica villosa subsp. drepanensis seeds stored in a genebank (at -20°C for 16 years) was compared with seeds at harvest by standard germination tests (GT), SIGT and cytogenetic analysis. No differences were detected in G% and mean germination time under GT. Conversely, SIGT performed with NaCl -0.9MPa osmotic potential did not influence G% at harvest but reduced that of stored seeds, SIGT at -1.4MPa reduced G% of both. Cytogenetic analysis showed reduction of mitotic index, appearance of chromosomal aberrations and smaller nucleoli in stored seeds compared with harvest seeds germinated in water. SIGT at -0.9MPa had no effect on mitotic index, but increased chromosome aberrations and nucleoli number. SIGT at -1.4MPa inhibited G% of harvest and stored seeds, reduced mitoses in harvest and completely prevented it in stored seeds. The results indicate that GT does not faithfully reflect the quality of stored seeds, with misinterpretation of their vigour, whereas SIGT and cytogenetical parameters are sensitive, reliable and inexpensive methods for early prediction of genetic erosion in germplasm banks.