Genetic variation for secondary seed dormancy and seed longevity in a set of black-seeded European winter oilseed rape cultivars.
Secondary seed dormancy in oilseed rape is a phenomenon that allows seeds to survive in the soil for many years without germination. Following soil cultivation, dormant seeds may germinate in subsequent years, and they are the main reason for the occurrence of volunteer oilseed rape plants in successive crops. Inheritance of secondary dormancy may be related to seed longevity (SL) in the soil. Genetic reduction in secondary dormancy and SL could provide a mean to reduce the frequency of volunteer plants and especially the dispersal of transgenic oilseed rape. The aim of the present study was to analyse secondary dormancy, germination rate and SL of 28 black-seeded winter oilseed rape cultivars using in vitro laboratory tests. The material was tested in field experiments at six different locations in Germany in 2008/2009. Significant effects of the genotype and the location on all traits were found. Heritability was high for secondary dormancy (0.97) and moderate for germination rate (0.70) and SL (0.71). Results indicate that a selection for low secondary dormancy would be effective.