The messenger RNA population present in the axes of seeds of Pisum sativum changes during germination; particularly noticeable is the progressive decline in the population of messages present in the mature dry axes. Desiccation during germination does not affect the loss of many of these messages from the axes; their decline during germination is stimulated in response to desiccation, however. Another set of messages normally increases with time of germination; an interrupting desiccation period does not permanently suppress this increase, for it proceeds as normal upon subsequent rehydration. Desiccation of isolated pea axes at different rates reveals a differential stability of the message population, with slow drying resulting in a greater loss of translatable mRNAs. At least one message is synthesized in response to desiccation imposed during germination which is not present in the mature dry seed, or during very early imbibition. The level of control exerted by desiccation on protein synthesis appears to be at the level of transcription.