The awakening of Sleeping Beauty

A team led by Luis Lopez-Molina demonstrates how the coat of dormant seeds controls the process of germination.It is during germination that plants are most vulnerable. One of the safeguards designed to prevent “false starts” is expressed by a state of dormancy of the seeds, which is maintained until the appearance of optimum environmental conditions. The team has identified an essential process by which the embryo comes out of its lethargy, which takes place in the seed coat. The study, described on the October 18, 2010 in PNAS, also provides a framework for studying how environmental factors cause the awakening of dormant seeds.

Press release