Seed storage is important to farmers, breeders and for germplasm preservation. During storage, seeds accumulate damage at the structural and metabolic level, which disrupt their function and reduce resistance to adverse external conditions. In this regard, issues related to seed aging prove to be relevant for maintaining the viability of genetic collections. We analyzed morphological characteristics of grains and their coat color for 44 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of bread wheat grown in four different seasons, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Our investigations were performed in 2020. For 19 RILs from the same seasons germination was evaluated. Our results demonstrate that genotype significantly affects the variability of all seed traits, and the year of harvesting affects about 80% of them (including all the traits of shape and size). To identify the trend between changes in grain characteristics and harvesting year, we estimated correlation coefficients between them. No significant trend was detected for the grain shape/size traits, while 90% of the color traits demonstrated such a trend. The most significant negative correlations were found between the harvesting year and the traits of grain redness: the greater the storage time, the more intensive is red color component for the grains. At the same time, it was shown that grains of longer storage time (earlier harvesting year) have lighter coat. Analysis of linear correlations between germination of wheat seeds of different genotypes and harvesting years and their seed traits revealed a negative linear relationship between the red component of coat color and germination: the redder the grains, the lower their germination rate. The results obtained demonstrate manifestations of metabolic changes in the coat of grains associated with storage time and their relationship with a decrease of seed viability.
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