Effects of environmental variation during seed production on seed dormancy and germination

The environment during seed production has major impacts on the behaviour of progeny seeds. It can be shown that for annual plants temperature perception over the whole life history of the mother can affect the germination rate of progeny, and instances have been documented where these affects cross whole generations. Here we discuss the current state of knowledge of signal transduction pathways controlling environmental responses during seed production, focusing both on events that take place in the mother plant and those that occur directly as a result of environmental responses in the developing zygote. We show that seed production environment effects are complex, involving overlapping gene networks active independently in fruit, seed coat, and zygotic tissues that can be deconstructed using careful physiology alongside molecular and genetic experiments.