Maternal Plants Communicate With Daughter Seeds

Lab Report

By: Ann Northrup

Ann Northrup spent her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology….

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In order for seed germination to be well timed, mother plants must pass along critical weather history to her offspring. Storing information about temperature over time, a mother Arabidopsis plant will be induced to produce more or less of a protein called Flowering Locus T. This in turn influences how much tannin is produced in the ovary, which then influences how thick the seed coat will be, and how quickly the seed will imbibe water to begin germination. Flowering Locus T is also involved in the recognition of day length as it relates to flowering, but this newly described temperature sensing phenomenon is completely separate.

University of York News, December 15, 2014