Parental Effects on Seed Mass: Seed Coat but Not Embryo/Endosperm Effects

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth P. Lacey, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Many biologists studying environmentally induced parental effects have indirectly suggested that the parental environment alters seed mass by altering the amount of endosperm or embryo tissue in the seed. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the effects of parental temperature on total seed mass, seed coat mass, and embryo/endosperm mass in offspring of Plantago lanceolata. Parental temperature significantly affected total seed and coat mass but not endosperm/embryo mass. Thus, larger seeds do not contain more resources in the embryo or endosperm than do small seeds. Rather they have more coat mass, which probably strongly influences germination. These results suggest caution when making assumptions about the pathways by which environmentally induced parental effects are transmitted in plant species. We also observed that controlled crosses differed significantly in their response to parental temperature, which provides evidence for genetic variation in environmentally induced parental effects, i.e., intergenerational phenotypic plasticity, in natural populations of P. lanceolata.

Additional Information

American Journal of Botany 84(11): 1617-1620. 1997.
Language: English
Date: 1997
Parental (maternal) effects, Parental temperature, Plantago lanceolata, Plantaginaceae, Seed mass

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