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Germination

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Seeds

Abstract

Seed germination refers to the physiological process culminating in the emergence of the embryo from its enclosing coverings, which can include the endosperm, perisperm, testa, or pericarp. The absorption of water by the seed (imbibition) activates metabolic processes that subsequently lead to expansion of the embryo and penetration of the radicle (or other organ) through the surrounding tissues. Respiration to supply metabolic energy for these processes is activated immediately following imbibition. Transcripts (mRNA) synthesized in seeds during development are present in dry seeds, but most are degraded soon after imbibition. The transcription of germination-related genes and their translation into proteins begins within the first few hours following hydration. Expansion of the embryonic tissues is opposed by the restraint of the tissues enclosing them; an increase in embryo growth potential and/or a decrease in the strength of the covering tissues allow germination to be completed. Cell division generally only begins following the completion of germination. Partially hydrating seeds for a period of time followed by dehydration (seed priming) can accelerate their germination when they are subsequently planted, a practice that is utilized commercially to enhance the speed and uniformity of crop establishment.

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Bewley, J.D., Bradford, K.J., Hilhorst, H.W.M., Nonogaki, H. (2013). Germination. In: Seeds. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4693-4_4

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