Background: Seed dormancy, defined as the incapability of a viable seed to germinate under favourable conditions, is an important trait in nature and agriculture. Despite extensive research on dormancy and germination, many questions about the molecular mechanisms controlling these traits remain unanswered, likely due to its genetic complexity and the large environmental effects which are characteristic of these quantitative traits. To boost research towards revealing mechanisms in the control of seed dormancy and germination we depend on the identification of genes controlling those traits. Methods: We used transcriptome analysis combined with a reverse genetics approach to identify genes that are prominent for dormancy maintenance and germination in imbibed seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. Comparative transcriptomics analysis was employed on freshly harvested (dormant) and after-ripened (AR; non-dormant) 24-h imbibed seeds of four different DELAY OF GERMINATION near isogenic lines (DOGNILs) and the Landsberg erecta (Ler) wild type with varying levels of primary dormancy. T-DNA knock-out lines of the identified genes were phenotypically investigated for their effect on dormancy and AR. Results: We identified conserved sets of 46 and 25 genes which displayed higher expression in seeds of all dormant and all after-ripened DOGNILs and Ler, respectively. Knock-out mutants in these genes showed dormancy and germination related phenotypes. Conclusions: Most of the identified genes had not been implicated in seed dormancy or germination. This research will be useful to further decipher the molecular mechanisms by which these important ecological and commercial traits are regulated.
- Arabidopsis thaliana
- Delay of germination
- Knockout lines
- Seed performance
The identification of novel genes involved in seed dormancy and after-ripening in Arabidopsis thaliana