Photoperiod throughout the maternal life cycle, not photoperiod during seed imbibition, influences germination in Arabidopsis thaliana .

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Premise of the study

Plants adjust their phenology in response to seasonal cues experienced both by their parents and by themselves, and coordinating responses to these cues is necessary for expressing adaptive phenology. We investigated how cues are integrated across time to influence an important progeny phenotype, i.e., seed germination.


We used Arabidopsis thaliana to investigate how the photoperiod experienced by maternal parents and by progeny influences seed germination. We examined when maternal photoperiod effects on germination are imposed and how long they persist in progeny.

Key results

The photoperiod experienced by maternal plants more strongly influenced germination than the photoperiod experienced during seed imbibition. In addition, the photoperiod experienced at the prereproductive stage frequently influenced germination as strongly as that experienced during reproduction. In general, seeds from plants grown under short days had higher seed germination percentages than seeds from plants grown in longer days. These maternal effects diminished with after-ripening, but reappeared in seeds induced into secondary dormancy.


We found no evidence that the effect of photoperiod systematically attenuates in proportion to the time that elapsed between the cue and the timing of seed germination. Moreover, more recently experienced cues did not override the effects of cues experienced previously. Instead, specific sequences of photoperiods experienced at the prereproductive and reproductive stages appear to influence germination behavior.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Imaizumi, T; Auge, G; Donohue, K

Published Date

  • April 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 104 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 516 - 526

PubMed ID

  • 28411210

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-2197

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9122

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3732/ajb.1600389


  • eng