Seed dormancy is a primary component of the different life-history strategies of annual plants. The evolution of the seed habit has permitted higher plants to colonize a large number of ecological niches due to the excellence of orthodox seeds as dispersal units relatively impervious to harsh environmental conditions. Seed dormancy, defined as the inability of a viable seed to germinate under conditions that allow germination, is assumed to be an important adaptive trait in nature. The overall fitness of maternal plants can favour production of cohorts of seeds having dramatically different germination criteria so that germination is distributed over time. This review provides an overview of current knowledge of three hormonal factors (i.e. gibberellins, abscisic acid and ethylene) and genes controlling seed dormancy.
Buy this Article