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Germination is the process by which an
organism In biology, an organism () is any living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy into groups such as multicellular animals, plants, and fun ...
grows from a seed or
spore In biology, a spore is a unit of sexual or asexual reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal and for survival, often for extended periods of time, in unfavourable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many plants, algae, ...
. The term is applied to the sprouting of a
seedling A seedling is a young sporophyte developing out of a plant embryo from a seed. Seedling development starts with germination of the seed. A typical young seedling consists of three main parts: the radicle (embryonic root), the hypocotyl (embry ...
from a
seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering, along with a food reserve. The formation of the seed is a part of the process of reproduction in seed plants, the spermatophytes, including the gymnosperm and angiospe ...
of an angiosperm or
gymnosperm The gymnosperms ( lit. revealed seeds) are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, ''Ginkgo'', and gnetophytes, forming the clade Gymnospermae. The term ''gymnosperm'' comes from the composite word in el, γυμνό ...
, the growth of a sporeling from a
spore In biology, a spore is a unit of sexual or asexual reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal and for survival, often for extended periods of time, in unfavourable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many plants, algae, ...
, such as the spores of
fungi A fungus ( : fungi or funguses) is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, separately from ...
, ferns,
bacteria Bacteria (; singular: bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria were amon ...
, and the growth of the pollen tube from the pollen grain of a
seed plant A spermatophyte (; ), also known as phanerogam (taxon Phanerogamae) or phaenogam (taxon Phaenogamae), is any plant that produces seeds, hence the alternative name seed plant. Spermatophytes are a subset of the embryophytes or land plants. They inc ...
.


Seed plants

Germination is usually the growth of a plant contained within a seed; it results in the formation of the seedling. It is also the process of reactivation of metabolic machinery of the seed resulting in the emergence of
radicle In botany, the radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. The radicle is the embryonic root of the plant, and grows downward in the soil (the shoot emerges from the ...
and plumule. The seed of a
vascular plant Vascular plants (), also called tracheophytes () or collectively Tracheophyta (), form a large group of land plants ( accepted known species) that have lignified tissues (the xylem) for conducting water and minerals throughout the plant. They a ...
is a small package produced in a
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants that is formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) disseminate their seeds. Edible fruits in part ...
or
cone A cone is a three-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a flat base (frequently, though not necessarily, circular) to a point called the apex or vertex. A cone is formed by a set of line segments, half-lines, or lines co ...
after the union of male and female reproductive cells. All fully developed seeds contain an
embryo An embryo is an initial stage of development of a multicellular organism. In organisms that reproduce sexually, embryonic development is the part of the life cycle that begins just after fertilization of the female egg cell by the male spe ...
and, in most plant species some store of food reserves, wrapped in a seed coat. Some plants produce varying numbers of seeds that lack embryos; these are empty seeds which never germinate. Dormant seeds are viable seeds that do not germinate because they require specific internal or environmental stimuli to resume growth. Under proper conditions, the seed begins to germinate and the embryo resumes growth, developing into a seedling. Disturbance of soil can result in vigorous plant growth by exposing seeds already in the soil to changes in environmental factors where germination may have previously been inhibited by depth of the seeds or soil that was too compact. This is often observed at gravesites after a burial. Seed germination depends on both internal and external conditions. The most important external factors include right
temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperature is measured with a thermometer. Thermometers are calibrated in various temperature scales that historically have relied o ...
,
water Water (chemical formula ) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ...
,
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen group in the periodic table, a highly reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as ...
or
air The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, known collectively as air, retained by Earth's gravity that surrounds the planet and forms its planetary atmosphere. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing for ...
and sometimes
light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that can be perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), corresponding to frequencies of 750–420 ter ...
or
darkness Darkness, the direct opposite of lightness, is defined as a lack of illumination, an absence of visible light, or a surface that absorbs light, such as black or brown. Human vision is unable to distinguish colors in conditions of very low lu ...
. Various plants require different variables for successful seed germination. Often this depends on the individual seed variety and is closely linked to the ecological conditions of a plant's natural habitat. For some seeds, their future germination response is affected by environmental conditions during seed formation; most often these responses are types of seed dormancy. * Water is required for germination. Mature seeds are often extremely dry and need to take in significant amounts of water, relative to the dry weight of the seed, before cellular
metabolism Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main functions of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cel ...
and growth can resume. Most seeds need enough water to moisten the seeds but not enough to soak them. The uptake of water by seeds is called
imbibition Imbibition is a special type of diffusion that takes place when liquid is absorbed by solids-colloids causing an increase in volume. Water surface potential movement takes place along a concentration gradient; some dry materials absorb water. A ...
, which leads to the swelling and the breaking of the seed coat. When seeds are formed, most plants store a food reserve with the seed, such as
starch Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants for energy storage. Worldwide, it is the most common carbohydrate in human diets ...
,
protein Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, resp ...
s, or
oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance that is composed primarily of hydrocarbons and is hydrophobic (does not mix with water) & lipophilic (mixes with other oils). Oils are usually flammable and surface active. Most oils are unsaturated ...
s. This food reserve provides nourishment to the growing embryo. When the seed imbibes water, hydrolytic enzymes are activated which break down these stored food resources into metabolically useful
chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. Some references add that chemical substance cannot be separated into its constituent elements by physical separation methods, i.e., wi ...
s. After the seedling emerges from the seed coat and starts growing roots and leaves, the seedling's food reserves are typically exhausted; at this point
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism's activities. Some of this chemical energy is stored in ...
provides the energy needed for continued growth and the seedling now requires a continuous supply of water, nutrients, and light. * Oxygen is required by the germinating seed for
metabolism Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main functions of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cel ...
. Oxygen is used in
aerobic respiration Cellular respiration is the process by which biological fuels are oxidised in the presence of an inorganic electron acceptor such as oxygen to produce large amounts of energy, to drive the bulk production of ATP. Cellular respiration may be des ...
, the main source of the seedling's energy until it grows leaves. Oxygen is an atmospheric gas that is found in
soil Soil, also commonly referred to as earth or dirt, is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. Some scientific definitions distinguish ''dirt'' from ''soil'' by restricting the former te ...
pore spaces; if a seed is buried too deeply within the soil or the soil is waterlogged, the seed can be oxygen starved. Some seeds have impermeable seed coats that prevent oxygen from entering the seed, causing a type of physical dormancy which is broken when the seed coat is worn away enough to allow gas exchange and water uptake from the environment. ** In a small number of plants, such as
rice Rice is the seed of the grass species '' Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', both wild and domesticated, ...
, anaerobic germination can occur in waterlogged conditions. The seed produces a hollow coleoptile that acts like a 'snorkel', providing the seed with access to oxygen. * Temperature affects cellular metabolic and growth rates. Seeds from different species and even seeds from the same plant germinate over a wide range of temperatures. Seeds often have a temperature range within which they will germinate, and they will not do so above or below this range. Many seeds germinate at temperatures slightly above 60-75 F (16-24 C) oom-temperature in centrally heated houses while others germinate just above freezing and others germinate only in response to alternations in temperature between warm and cool. Some seeds germinate when the soil is cool 28-40 F (-2 - 4 C), and some when the soil is warm 76-90 F (24-32 C). Some seeds require exposure to cold temperatures ( vernalization) to break dormancy. Some seeds in a dormant state will not germinate even if conditions are favorable. Seeds that are dependent on temperature to end dormancy have a type of physiological dormancy. For example, seeds requiring the cold of winter are inhibited from germinating until they take in water in the fall and experience cooler temperatures. Cold stratification is a process that induces the dormancy breaking prior to light emission that promotes germination . Four degrees Celsius is cool enough to end dormancy for most cool dormant seeds, but some groups, especially within the family
Ranunculaceae Ranunculaceae (buttercup or crowfoot family; Latin "little frog", from "frog") is a family of over 2,000 known species of flowering plants in 43 genera, distributed worldwide. The largest genera are ''Ranunculus'' (600 species), ''Delphinium' ...
and others, need conditions cooler than -5 C. Some seeds will only germinate after hot temperatures during a
forest fire A wildfire, forest fire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, uncontrolled and unpredictable fire in an area of combustible vegetation. Depending on the type of vegetation present, a wildfire may be more specifically identif ...
which cracks their seed coats; this is a type of physical dormancy. Most common annual
vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems ...
s have optimal germination temperatures between 75-90 F (24-32 C), though many species (e.g.
radish The radish ('' Raphanus raphanistrum'' subsp. ''sativus'') is an edible root vegetable of the family Brassicaceae that was domesticated in Asia prior to Roman times. Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw ...
es or
spinach Spinach (''Spinacia oleracea'') is a leafy green flowering plant native to central and western Asia. It is of the order Caryophyllales, family Amaranthaceae, subfamily Chenopodioideae. Its leaves are a common edible vegetable consumed either fr ...
) can germinate at significantly lower temperatures, as low as 40 F (4 C), thus allowing them to be grown from seeds in cooler climates. Suboptimal temperatures lead to lower success rates and longer germination periods. * Light or darkness can be an environmental trigger for germination and is a type of physiological dormancy. Most seeds are not affected by light or darkness, but many seeds, including species found in forest settings, will not germinate until an opening in the canopy allows sufficient light for the growth of the seedling. * Scarification mimics natural processes that weaken the seed coat before germination. In nature, some seeds require particular conditions to germinate, such as the heat of a fire (e.g., many Australian native plants), or soaking in a body of water for a long period of time. Others need to be passed through an animal's
digestive tract The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus. The GI tract contains all the major organs of the digestive system, in humans and ...
to weaken the seed coat enough to allow the seedling to emerge.


Dormancy

Some live seeds are
dormant Dormant, "sleeping", may refer to: Science *Dormancy in an organism's life cycle * Dormant volcano, a volcano that is inactive but may become active in the future Culture *Dormant, a heraldry attitude signifying a sleeping animal with head r ...
and need more time, and/or need to be subjected to specific environmental conditions before they will germinate. Seed dormancy can originate in different parts of the seed, for example, within the embryo; in other cases the seed coat is involved. Dormancy breaking often involves changes in membranes, initiated by dormancy-breaking signals. This generally occurs only within hydrated seeds. Factors affecting seed dormancy include the presence of certain plant hormones, notably
abscisic acid Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone. ABA functions in many plant developmental processes, including seed and bud dormancy, the control of organ size and stomatal closure. It is especially important for plants in the response to environmental ...
, which inhibits germination, and
gibberellin Gibberellins (GAs) are plant hormones that regulate various developmental processes, including stem elongation, germination, dormancy, flowering, flower development, and leaf and fruit senescence. GAs are one of the longest-known classes of pla ...
, which ends seed dormancy. In
brewing Brewing is the production of beer by steeping a starch source (commonly cereal grains, the most popular of which is barley) in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast. It may be done in a brewery by a commercial brew ...
, barley seeds are treated with gibberellin to ensure uniform seed germination for the production of barley
malt Malt is germinated cereal grain that has been dried in a process known as " malting". The grain is made to germinate by soaking in water and is then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. Malted grain is used to make beer, w ...
.


Seedling establishment

In some definitions, the appearance of the
radicle In botany, the radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. The radicle is the embryonic root of the plant, and grows downward in the soil (the shoot emerges from the ...
marks the end of germination and the beginning of "establishment", a period that utilizes the food reserves stored in the seed. Germination and establishment as an independent organism are critical phases in the life of a plant when they are the most vulnerable to injury, disease, and water stress. The germination index can be used as an indicator of
phytotoxicity Phytotoxicity describes any adverse effects on plant growth, physiology, or metabolism caused by a chemical substance, such as high levels of fertilizers, herbicides, heavy metals, or nanoparticles. General phytotoxic effects include altered pla ...
in soils. The mortality between dispersal of seeds and completion of the establishment can be so high that many species have adapted to produce large numbers of seeds.


Germination rate and germination capacity

In
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people t ...
and
gardening Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruit ...
, the germination rate describes how many seeds of a particular
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all current definitions of Plantae exc ...
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate ...
, variety or seedlot are likely to germinate over a given period. It is a measure of germination time course and is usually expressed as a percentage, e.g., an 85% germination rate indicates that about 85 out of 100 seeds will probably germinate under proper conditions over the germination period given. Seed germination rate is determined by the seed genetic composition, morphological features and environmental factors. The germination rate is useful for calculating the number of seeds needed for a given area or desired number of plants. For seed physiologists and seed scientists "germination rate" is the reciprocal of time taken for the process of germination to complete starting from time of
sowing Sowing is the process of planting seeds. An area or object that has had seeds planted in it will be described as a sowed or sown area. Plants which are usually sown Among the major field crops, oats, wheat, and rye are sown, grasses and le ...
. On the other hand, the number of seed able to complete germination in a population (i.e. seed lot) is referred to as germination capacity.


Repair of DNA damage

Seed quality deteriorates with age, and this is associated with accumulation of genome damage. During germination,
repair The technical meaning of maintenance involves functional checks, servicing, repairing or replacing of necessary devices, equipment, machinery, building infrastructure, and supporting utilities in industrial, business, and residential installa ...
processes are activated to deal with accumulated
DNA damage DNA repair is a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as radiation can cause DNA dam ...
. In particular, single- and double-strand breaks in DNA can be repaired. The DNA damage checkpoint kinase ATM has a major role in integrating progression through germination with repair responses to the DNA damages accumulated by the aged seed.


Dicot germination

The part of the plant that first emerges from the seed is the embryonic root, termed the
radicle In botany, the radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. The radicle is the embryonic root of the plant, and grows downward in the soil (the shoot emerges from the ...
or primary root. It allows the seedling to become anchored in the ground and start absorbing water. After the root absorbs water, an embryonic
shoot In botany, a plant shoot consists of any plant stem together with its appendages, leaves and lateral buds, flowering stems, and flower buds. The new growth from seed germination that grows upward is a shoot where leaves will develop. In the sp ...
emerges from the seed. This shoot comprises three main parts: the
cotyledon A cotyledon (; ; ; , gen. (), ) is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant, and is defined as "the embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants, one or more of which are the first to appear from a germinating seed." The numb ...
s (seed leaves), the section of shoot below the cotyledons (
hypocotyl The hypocotyl (short for "hypocotyledonous stem", meaning "below seed leaf") is the stem of a germinating seedling, found below the cotyledons (seed leaves) and above the radicle (root). Eudicots As the plant embryo grows at germination, it sen ...
), and the section of shoot above the cotyledons (
epicotyl An epicotyl is important for the beginning stages of a plant's life. It is the region of a seedling stem above the stalks of the seed leaves of an embryo plant. It grows rapidly, showing hypogeal germination, and extends the stem above the soil surf ...
). The way the shoot emerges differs among plant groups.


Epigeal

Epigeal germination Epigeal germination (Ancient Greek [] 'above ground', from [] 'on' and [] 'earth, ground') is a Glossary of botanical terms, botanical term indicating that the germination of a plant takes place above the ground. An example of a plant with epige ...
(or epigeous germination) is a botanical term indicating that the germination takes place above the ground. In epigeal germination, the ''hypocotyl'' elongates and forms a hook, pulling rather than pushing the
cotyledon A cotyledon (; ; ; , gen. (), ) is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant, and is defined as "the embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants, one or more of which are the first to appear from a germinating seed." The numb ...
s and
apical meristem The meristem is a type of tissue found in plants. It consists of undifferentiated cells (meristematic cells) capable of cell division. Cells in the meristem can develop into all the other tissues and organs that occur in plants. These cells conti ...
through the soil. Once it reaches the surface, it straightens and pulls the cotyledons and shoot tip of the growing seedlings into the air.
Bean A bean is the seed of several plants in the family Fabaceae, which are used as vegetables for human or animal food. They can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, frying, and baking, and are used in many traditional dishes thr ...
s, tamarind, and papaya are examples of plants that germinate this way.


Hypogeal

Germination can also be done by hypogeal germination (or hypogeous germination), where the epicotyl elongates and forms the hook. In this type of germination, the cotyledons stay underground where they eventually decompose. Peas,
chickpea The chickpea or chick pea (''Cicer arietinum'') is an annual legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its different types are variously known as gram" or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, or Egyptian pea. Chickpea seeds are hig ...
s and mango, for example, germinate this way.


Monocot germination

In
monocot Monocotyledons (), commonly referred to as monocots, (Lilianae ''sensu'' Chase & Reveal) are grass and grass-like flowering plants (angiosperms), the seeds of which typically contain only one embryonic leaf, or cotyledon. They constitute one of t ...
seeds, the embryo's radicle and cotyledon are covered by a coleorhiza and coleoptile, respectively. The coleorhiza is the first part to grow out of the seed, followed by the radicle. The coleoptile is then pushed up through the ground until it reaches the surface. There, it stops elongating and the first leaves emerge.


Precocious germination

When a seed germinates without undergoing all four stages of seed development, i.e., globular, heart shape, torpedo shape, and cotyledonary stage, it is known as precocious germination.


Pollen germination

Another germination event during the life cycle of
gymnosperm The gymnosperms ( lit. revealed seeds) are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, ''Ginkgo'', and gnetophytes, forming the clade Gymnospermae. The term ''gymnosperm'' comes from the composite word in el, γυμνό ...
s and
flowering plant Flowering plants are plants that bear flowers and fruits, and form the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek words ('container, vessel') and ('seed'), and refers to those plants t ...
s is the germination of a pollen grain after
pollination Pollination is the transfer of pollen from an anther of a plant to the stigma of a plant, later enabling fertilisation and the production of seeds, most often by an animal or by wind. Pollinating agents can be animals such as insects, bird ...
. Like seeds,
pollen Pollen is a powdery substance produced by seed plants. It consists of pollen grains (highly reduced microgametophytes), which produce male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects the gametop ...
grains are severely dehydrated before being released to facilitate their dispersal from one plant to another. They consist of a protective coat containing several cells (up to 8 in gymnosperms, 2–3 in flowering plants). One of these cells is a tube cell. Once the pollen grain lands on the stigma of a receptive
flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Angiospermae). The biological function of a flower is to facilitate reproduction, usually by providing a mechani ...
(or a female
cone A cone is a three-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a flat base (frequently, though not necessarily, circular) to a point called the apex or vertex. A cone is formed by a set of line segments, half-lines, or lines co ...
in gymnosperms), it takes up water and germinates. Pollen germination is facilitated by hydration on the stigma, as well as by the structure and
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology, physiology focuses on how organisms, organ systems, individual organs, cells, and biomolecules carry out the chemica ...
of the stigma and style. Pollen can also be induced to germinate ''in vitro'' (in a
petri dish A Petri dish (alternatively known as a Petri plate or cell-culture dish) is a shallow transparent lidded dish that biologists use to hold growth medium in which cells can be cultured,R. C. Dubey (2014): ''A Textbook Of Biotechnology For Class- ...
or test tube). During germination, the tube cell elongates into a pollen tube. In the flower, the pollen tube then grows towards the
ovule In seed plants, the ovule is the structure that gives rise to and contains the female reproductive cells. It consists of three parts: the ''integument'', forming its outer layer, the '' nucellus'' (or remnant of the megasporangium), and the ...
where it discharges the
sperm Sperm is the male reproductive cell, or gamete, in anisogamous forms of sexual reproduction (forms in which there is a larger, female reproductive cell and a smaller, male one). Animals produce motile sperm with a tail known as a flagellum, ...
produced in the pollen grain for fertilization. The germinated pollen grain with its two sperm cells is the mature male microgametophyte of these plants.


Self-incompatibility

Since most plants carry both male and female reproductive organs in their flowers, there is a high risk of self-pollination and thus
inbreeding Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals or organisms that are closely related genetically. By analogy, the term is used in human reproduction, but more commonly refers to the genetic disorders and ...
. Some plants use the control of pollen germination as a way to prevent this self-pollination. Germination and growth of the pollen tube involve molecular signaling between stigma and pollen. In
self-incompatibility in plants Self-incompatibility (SI) is a general name for several genetic mechanisms that prevent self-fertilization in sexually reproducing organisms, and thus encourage outcrossing and allogamy. It is contrasted with separation of sexes among individual ...
, the stigma of certain plants can molecularly recognize pollen from the same plant and prevent it from germinating.


Spore germination

Germination can also refer to the emergence of cells from resting spores and the growth of sporeling
hypha A hypha (; ) is a long, branching, filamentous structure of a fungus, oomycete, or actinobacterium. In most fungi, hyphae are the main mode of vegetative growth, and are collectively called a mycelium. Structure A hypha consists of one or ...
e or thalli from spores in
fungi A fungus ( : fungi or funguses) is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, separately from ...
,
alga Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. It is a polyphyletic grouping that includes species from multiple distinct clades. Included organisms range from unicellular mic ...
e and some plants.
Conidia A conidium ( ; ), sometimes termed an asexual chlamydospore or chlamydoconidium (), is an asexual, non- motile spore of a fungus. The word ''conidium'' comes from the Ancient Greek word for dust, ('). They are also called mitospores due to th ...
are asexual reproductive (reproduction without the fusing of gametes) spores of fungi which germinate under specific conditions. A variety of cells can be formed from the germinating conidia. The most common are germ tubes which grow and develop into hyphae. The initial formation and subsequent elongation of the germ tube in the fugus ''Aspergillus niger'' has been captured in 3D using
holotomography Holotomography (HT) is a laser technique to measure three-dimensional refractive index (RI) tomogram of a microscopic sample such as biological cells and tissues. Because the RI can serve as an intrinsic imaging contrast for transparent or phase ...
microscopy. Another type of cell is a conidial anastomosis tube (CAT); these differ from germ tubes in that they are thinner, shorter, lack branches, exhibit determinate growth and home toward each other. Each cell is of a tubular shape, but the conidial anastomosis tube forms a bridge that allows fusion between conidia.


Resting spores

In resting spores, germination involves cracking the thick cell wall of the dormant spore. For example, in zygomycetes the thick-walled zygosporangium cracks open and the zygospore inside gives rise to the emerging sporangiophore. In
slime molds Slime mold or slime mould is an informal name given to several kinds of unrelated eukaryotic organisms with a life cycle that includes a free-living single-celled stage and the formation of spores. Spores are often produced in macroscopic mu ...
, germination refers to the emergence of
amoeboid An amoeba (; less commonly spelled ameba or amœba; plural ''am(o)ebas'' or ''am(o)ebae'' ), often called an amoeboid, is a type of cell or unicellular organism with the ability to alter its shape, primarily by extending and retracting pseudo ...
cells from the hardened spore. After cracking the spore coat, further development involves cell division, but not necessarily the development of a multicellular organism (for example in the free-living amoebas of slime molds).


Ferns and mosses

In
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all current definitions of Plantae exc ...
s such as
bryophyte The Bryophyta s.l. are a proposed taxonomic division containing three groups of non-vascular land plants (embryophytes): the liverworts, hornworts and mosses. Bryophyta s.s. consists of the mosses only. They are characteristically limited in s ...
s,
fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. The polypodiophytes include all living pteridophytes except t ...
s, and a few others, spores germinate into independent
gametophyte A gametophyte () is one of the two alternating multicellular phases in the life cycles of plants and algae. It is a haploid multicellular organism that develops from a haploid spore that has one set of chromosomes. The gametophyte is the sex ...
s. In the bryophytes (e.g.,
moss Mosses are small, non-vascular flowerless plants in the taxonomic division Bryophyta (, ) ''sensu stricto''. Bryophyta (''sensu lato'', Schimp. 1879) may also refer to the parent group bryophytes, which comprise liverworts, mosses, and hornw ...
es and
liverworts The Marchantiophyta () are a division of non-vascular land plants commonly referred to as hepatics or liverworts. Like mosses and hornworts, they have a gametophyte-dominant life cycle, in which cells of the plant carry only a single set of ...
), spores germinate into protonemata, similar to fungal hyphae, from which the gametophyte grows. In
fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. The polypodiophytes include all living pteridophytes except t ...
s, the gametophytes are small, heart-shaped prothalli that can often be found underneath a spore-shedding adult plant.


Bacteria

Bacterial spores can be
exospore A conidium ( ; ), sometimes termed an asexual chlamydospore or chlamydoconidium (), is an asexual, non- motile spore of a fungus. The word ''conidium'' comes from the Ancient Greek word for dust, ('). They are also called mitospores due to th ...
s or
endospore An endospore is a dormant, tough, and non-reproductive structure produced by some bacteria in the phylum Bacillota. The name "endospore" is suggestive of a spore or seed-like form (''endo'' means 'within'), but it is not a true spore (i.e., no ...
s which are dormant structures produced by a number of different bacteria. They have no or very low metabolic activity and are formed in response to adverse environmental conditions. They allow survival and are not a form of reproduction. Under suitable conditions the spore germinates to produce a viable bacterium. Endospores are formed inside the mother cell, whereas exospores are formed at the end of the mother cell as a bud.


Light-stimulated germination

As mentioned earlier, light can be an environmental factor that stimulates the germination process. The seed needs to be able to determine when is the perfect time to germinate and they do that by sensing environmental cues. Once germination starts, the stored nutrients that have accumulated during maturation start to be digested which then supports cell expansion and overall growth. Within light-stimulated germination, Phytochrome B (PHYB) is the photoreceptor that is responsible for the beginning stages of germination. When red light is present, PHYB is converted to its active form and moves from the cytoplasm to the nucleus where it upregulates the degradation of PIF1. PIF1, phytochrome-interaction-factor-1, negatively regulates germination by increasing the expression of proteins that repress the synthesis of gibberellin (GA), a major hormone in the germination process. Another factor that promotes germination is HFR1 which accumulates in light in some way and forms inactive heterodimers with PIF1. Although the exact mechanism is not known, nitric oxide (NO) plays a role in this pathway as well. NO is thought to repress PIF1 gene expression and stabilizes HFR1 in some way to support the start of germination. Bethke et al. (2006) exposed dormant ''Arabidopsis'' seeds to NO gas and within the next 4 days, 90% of the seeds broke dormancy and germinated. The authors also looked at how NO and GA effects the vacuolation process of aleurone cells that allow the movement of nutrients to be digested. A NO mutant resulted in inhibition of vacuolation but when GA was later added the process was active again leading to the belief that NO is prior to GA in the pathway. NO may also lead to the decrease in sensitivity of Abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone largely responsible for seed dormancy. The balance between GA and ABA is important. When ABA levels are higher than GA then that leads to dormant seeds and when GA levels are higher, seeds germinate. The switch between seed dormancy and germination needs to occur at a time when the seed has the best chances of surviving and an important cue that begins the process of seed germination and overall plant growth is light.


See also

* Lily seed germination types * Oldest viable seed *
Pot farm Container gardening or pot gardening/farming is the practice of growing plants, including edible plants, exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. A container in gardening is a small, enclosed and usually portable object ...
* Pyrophyte, for germination after fire * Seed tray *
Seedling A seedling is a young sporophyte developing out of a plant embryo from a seed. Seedling development starts with germination of the seed. A typical young seedling consists of three main parts: the radicle (embryonic root), the hypocotyl (embry ...
* Sprouting * Urban horticulture * Vivipary, when seeds or embryos begin to develop inside or before they detach from the parent


References


Further reading

* *


External links


Sowing Seeds
a survey of seed sowing techniques
Germination time-lapse
≈1 minute HD video of mung bean seeds germinating over 10 days, on
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{{Authority control Seeds Plant physiology Articles containing video clips