Terry L. Thomas Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843 INTRODUCTION Seed development represents a unique transition state in the life cycle of higher plants, providingthe physical link between parenta1and progeny sporophytic generations. During embrye genesis, the root and shoot apical meristems are specified, thus establishing the basic architecture of the seedling, and differentiationof vegetative tissue and organ systems occurs. Maturation events prepare the seed for germination and subsequent development of the mature plant. During maturation, the developing seed increases dramatically in volume and mass due to significant cell expansion and the concomitant accumulation and storage of protein and lipid to be used as nitrogen and carbon sources during germination. Early during the maturation phase, abscisic acid (ABA) levels reach a maximum, suppressingprecociousgermination and modulating gene expression. Desiccationensures seed dormancy even in the absence of ABA and serves as the boundary between seed maturation and germination. Following imbibition, germination and seedling growth ensue, driven metabolically by the hydrolysis of protein and lipid stored during maturation. This reviewwill provide an eclectic overview of gene expression in angiosperm embryogenesis and germination. I will focus primarily on dicot plants and will address only a small number of the
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