, Volume 138, Issue 7, pp 763–773 | Cite as

Potential for evolutionary change in the seasonal timing of germination in sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima) mediated by seed dormancy

  • Kristen Wagmann
  • Nina-Coralie Hautekèete
  • Yves Piquot
  • Henk Van Dijk


In sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima), germination occurs in autumn or spring and is mediated by dormancy which can be released by cold or dry periods. Environmental change such as current climate change may require evolutionary response in seasonal timing. Here, we explore the potential for such evolutionary change. Seed dormancy was studied in a composite population based on seeds from all over the species range in France together with several generations of reciprocal crosses. We found high, repeatable variability for dormancy rate among individuals under greenhouse conditions and confirmed its relevance for germination phenology in the field. Our data fitted best with an exclusively maternal determination of the dormancy phenotype. Narrow-sense heritability, h² ≈ 0.5 in the composite population and ≈0.4 in the original local populations, was such that rapid evolutionary change in the relative proportions of autumn and spring germination may be possible.


Global change Dormancy release Germination phenology Heritability Maternal effects Repeatability 



We thank Robert Dron and Eric Schmitt for technical assistance; Cécile Meunier for technical and theoretical suggestions; PPF ELICO (Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Littoraux et Côtiers), Jean–Claude Dauvin, Thierry Caron, Michel Priem and Station Marine de Wimereux for providing access to the experimental field site and technical assistance and Laurent Amsellem, Sylvain Billiard, Mathilde Dufaÿ, Solenn Le Cadre and Fabrice Roux for their valuable comments. Kristen Wagmann acknowledges a PhD grant from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen Wagmann
    • 1
  • Nina-Coralie Hautekèete
    • 1
  • Yves Piquot
    • 1
  • Henk Van Dijk
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, UMR 8016CNRSVilleneuve d’Ascq cedexFrance

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