Maternal control of seed size in plants

J Exp Bot. 2015 Feb;66(4):1087-97. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru549. Epub 2015 Jan 21.


Seed size is a key determinant of evolutionary fitness, and is also one of the most important components of seed yield. In angiosperms, seed development begins with double fertilization, which leads to the formation of a diploid embryo and a triploid endosperm. The outermost layer of the seed is the seed coat, which differentiates from maternal integuments. Therefore, the size of a seed is determined by the co-ordinated growth of the embryo, endosperm, and maternal tissue. Recent studies have identified several factors that act maternally or zygotically to regulate seed size, and revealed possible mechanisms that underlie seed size control in Arabidopsis and rice. In this review, we summarize current research progress in maternal control of seed size and discuss the roles of several newly identified regulators in maternal regulation of seed growth.

Keywords: Maternal and zygotic tissues; seed development; seed size..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Magnoliopsida / genetics*
  • Magnoliopsida / growth & development
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Seeds / growth & development