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Distinct plant seed/fruit structures evolved to support reproduction and dispersal in distinct environments. Appropriate biomechanical properties and interactions of the various seed compartments are indispensable to plant survival. Most seeds are dispersed in a dry state generated during seed development/maturation for which novel aspects of endosperm-embryo interaction were discovered. The various layers covering the embryo of a mature seed define the patterns of water uptake during germination. Their biomechanical weakening together with embryo cell expansion are mediated by cell wall remodelling to facilitate radicle protrusion. Recent work with different species has revealed mechanisms underpinning specific embryo growth zones. Abiotic and biotic factors were shown to release different types of seed and fruit coat-mediated constraints to water uptake and germination.
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