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Volume 68, Issue 4
1 February 2017
ISSN 0022-0957
EISSN 1460-2431
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Special Issue: Seed Development, Maturation, and Germination: Joining the Dots



This review article provides a contemporary perspective on the biophysical and biomechanical mechanisms of seed germination. This is timely and has not been brought together in a review before.


Cell elimination occurs frequently during plant organ development but is particularly prevalent in seeds. Here this observation is explored in light of the seed’s unique structural characteristics and evolutionary history.

Plants undergo extensive epigenetic reprogramming during gamete formation and early seed development involving global changes of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and small RNAs, which may serve to enforce silencing of transposable elements and thus to maintain genome stability.

Variability in seeds is present across multiple scales, and poses persistent and pertinent scientific and agronomic challenges. This review explores these facets.

Environmental signals during seed production strongly affect seed dormancy at harvest and are exploited by plants to generate variation in dormancy levels among progeny. This review discusses the current state of t knowledge of the underlying biological mechanisms.

This review highlights current knowledge on the processes and regulatory mechanisms that occur during late maturation of developing seeds and that underlie preparation for the dry state.

Physiological, molecular, and ecological aspects of seed dormancy in Arabidopsis are reviewed and interpreted in the context of dormancy cycling in the variable environment of the soil seed bank.

Primary dormancy prevents premature seed germination. The depth of dormancy is controlled by the mother before it is released in isolated seeds. We review these processes which remain poorly understood.

The ancestral origin of the AFL regulatory network links seed development to plant expansion across land habitats.

  • Cover Image

    Cover Image

    issue cover
    Cover illustration: (Top) Seeds of Brassica oleracea DH1012. (Middle) Arabidopsis seeds set at two temperatures. (Bottom) Germinating tomato seeds. Seed quality is a key trait for the vegetable industry where companies can charge high premiums for seed with exceptional performance.
  • Front Matter
  • Table of Contents
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