Special Issue "Linking Seed Biology to Plant Preservation: New Advances and Perspectives"
A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020) | Viewed by 45063
We are living in an unprecedented time of plant biodiversity loss. Present estimates suggest that 30% of plant species are threatened with extinction. Moreover, current rates of extinction are three-orders of magnitude faster than extinction rates measured over geologic time. These two pieces of information should be astonishing to anyone given humanity’s dependence on plants for survival. However, we are not solely losing plants in danger of extinction. We are losing crop wild relatives that contain important genetic information. We are losing plants that serve as sources of medicines, foods, and fibers. We are losing undiscovered species that form important networks and provide valuable ecological services. Fortunately, several systems exist to preserve plant genetic diversity and give species a chance at winning in the biodiversity loss crisis. These systems span a continuum from preserving plants in their natural habitat to storage within genebanks.
Seeds form the foundation for these systems. For example, practitioners may focus on promoting the formation of soil seed banks for species in the wild. Alternatively, managers may strive to preserve all or most of the genetic diversity of a target plant using a seed genebank. Therefore, intimate knowledge of seed biology is imperative regardless of the preservation system. Recent advances provide clarity on the germination ecology of many species and the relationship of this to plant preservation in the field. Similarly, new research reveals some of the biochemical, biophysical, genetic, and physiological aspects underpinning the ability of seeds to tolerate (or be sensitive to) stresses, such as desiccation or aging, that are required for or result from storage of seeds in genebanks. Nevertheless, despite this considerable progress, we require novel seed biology insights as we work towards creating a unifying plant preservation framework. Many open questions exist, for example: How will a changing climate influence dormancy and germination dynamics for seeds in the wild or seeds placed again in the wild after storage? Why do seeds of different species vary in their ability to tolerate imposed or induced stresses associated with preservation? And can we identify seed traits that enhance our ability to preserve plant species? The aim of this Special Issue is to join papers providing new findings and views related to the biochemistry, biophysics, ecology, genetics, and physiology of seed biology with the potential to enhance plant preservation.
Dr. Héctor E. Pérez
Manuscript Submission Information
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- abiotic stress
- ex situ
- in situ
- seed development
- seed functional traits
- seed quality