The fruit, which mediates the maturation and dispersal of seeds, is a complex structure unique to flowering plants. Seed dispersal in plants such as Arabidopsis occurs by a process called fruit dehiscence, or pod shatter. Few studies have focused on identifying genes that regulate this process, in spite of the agronomic value of controlling seed dispersal in crop plants such as canola. Here we show that the closely related SHATTERPROOF (SHP1) and SHATTERPROOF2 (SHP2) MADS-box genes are required for fruit dehiscence in Arabidopsis. Moreover, SHP1 and SHP2 are functionally redundant, as neither single mutant displays a novel phenotype. Our studies of shp1 shp2 fruit, and of plants constitutively expressing SHP1 and SHP2, show that these two genes control dehiscence zone differentiation and promote the lignification of adjacent cells. Our results indicate that further analysis of the molecular events underlying fruit dehiscence may allow genetic manipulation of pod shatter in crop plants.