Primary seed dormancy is the phenomenon whereby seeds newly shed by the mother plant are unable to germinate under otherwise favorable conditions for germination. Primary dormancy is released during dry seed storage (after-ripening), and the seeds acquire the capacity to germinate upon imbibition under favorable conditions, i.e., they become non-dormant. Primary dormancy can also be released from the seed by various treatments, for example, by cold imbibition (stratification). Non-dormant seeds can temporarily block their germination if exposed to unfavorable conditions upon seed imbibition until favorable conditions are available. Nevertheless, prolonged unfavorable conditions will re-induce dormancy, i.e., germination will be blocked upon exposure to favorable conditions. This phenomenon is referred to as secondary dormancy. Relative to primary dormancy, the mechanisms underlying secondary dormancy remain understudied in Arabidopsis thaliana
and largely unknown. This is partly due to the experimental difficulty in observing secondary dormancy in the laboratory and the absence of established experimental protocols. Here, an overview is provided of the current knowledge on secondary dormancy focusing on A. thaliana
, and a working model describing secondary dormancy is proposed, focusing on the interaction of primary and secondary dormancy.
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