Changes in messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) populations during embryogenesis of cottonseed have been followed by cataloging (a) extant proteins, (b) proteins synthesized in vivo, and (c) proteins synthesized in vitro from extracted RNA, all at specific stages of embryogenesis. Evidence is presented for the existence of five mRNA subsets, all apparently under different regulatory regimes, that produce the abundant proteins of embryogenesis. One of these functions principally during the cell division phase of embryogenesis and encodes among its products the seed storage proteins whose mRNA is superabundant during this period. This subset has disappeared from the abundant group by the mature seed stage. Two other subsets appear in late embryogenesis, one of which may result from the removal of the embryo from the maternal environment, since it is inducible by excision of the young embryo from the seed. The other appears to be induced by the plant growth regulator abscisic acid, whose endogenous concentration increases at this stage. It can be induced by incubating excised young embryos in abscisic acid. The last two subsets exist throughout embryogenesis, but only one of them appears to function in germination.