Seed longevity, a fundamental plant trait for ex situ conservation and persistence in the soil of many species, varies across populations and generations that experience different climates. Mondoni et al. study seeds from alpine and lowland populations of Silene vulgaris and show that seed longevity has a genetic basis but may show strong adaptive responses, which are associated with differential accumulation of mRNA via parental effects. They conclude that adaptive adjustments of seed longevity due to transgenerational plasticity may play a fundamental role for the survival and persistence of the species in the face of future environmental challenges, and that the location of regeneration may have important implications for ex situ conservation in seed banks.
Transgenerational changes in seed longevity in Silene
A study of seeds from alpine & lowland populations of Silene vulgaris shows that seed longevity has a genetic basis, but may show strong adaptive responses.