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Secondary dormancy dynamics depends on primary dormancy status in Arabidopsis thaliana

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 January 2015

Gabriela A. Auge*
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
Logan K. Blair
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
Liana T. Burghardt
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
Jennifer Coughlan
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
Brianne Edwards
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
Lindsay D. Leverett
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA Duke University, University Program in Ecology, Box 90328, Durham, NC27708, USA
Kathleen Donohue
Duke University, Department of Biology, Box 90338, Durham, NC27708, USA
*Correspondence: E-mail:


Seed dormancy can prevent germination under unfavourable conditions that reduce the chances of seedling survival. Freshly harvested seeds often have strong primary dormancy that depends on the temperature experienced by the maternal plant and which is gradually released through afterripening. However, seeds can be induced into secondary dormancy if they experience conditions or cues of future unfavourable conditions. Whether this secondary dormancy induction is influenced by seed-maturation conditions and primary dormancy has not been explored in depth. In this study, we examined secondary dormancy induction in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana matured under different temperatures and with different levels of afterripening. We found that low water potential and a range of temperatures, from 8°C to 35°C, induced secondary dormancy. Secondary dormancy induction was affected by the state of primary dormancy of the seeds. Specifically, afterripening had a non-monotonic effect on the ability to be induced into secondary dormancy by stratification; first increasing in sensitivity as afterripening proceeded, then declining in sensitivity after 5 months of afterripening, finally increasing again by 18 months of afterripening. Seed-maturation temperature sometimes had effects that were independent of expressed primary dormancy, such that seeds that had matured at low temperature, but which had comparable germination proportions as seeds matured at warmer temperatures, were more easily induced into secondary dormancy. Because seed-maturation temperature is a cue of when seeds were matured and dispersed, these results suggest that the interaction of seed-maturation temperature, afterripening and post-dispersal conditions all combine to regulate the time of year of seed germination.

Research Papers
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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