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They propose 'universal laws' on the size and biology of plant seeds

They propose 'universal laws' on the size and biology of plant seeds


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Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) have discovered that the different types of seeds that exist have allowed plants to adapt to environmental cycles throughout evolution. In this way, scientists have proposed for the first time 'universal laws' about the size and biology of seeds, demonstrating through mathematical models and exhaustive data analysis of more than 500 species of plants that the global distribution of dormancy and the size of the seeds follows a predictable pattern that depends on the climatic oscillations.

The seeds of many plants have a property called dormancy that allows them to remain in the soil for long periods of time without germinating. “This type of seeds is more abundant in temperate zones than in tropical zones. Similarly, at high latitudes the seeds tend to be smaller. However, the reasons for these patterns are not clear, ”says Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher at the Department of Ecology at the University of Granada and main author of this work published in the journal New Phytologist.

Seeds encapsulate mechanisms by which plants synchronize their growth with the most favorable periods. Rubio and his team's results show that smaller dormant seeds, which can remain in the soil undetected and wait to germinate at the beginning of the favorable season, are better adapted to environments where the growing season is short. .

"On the contrary, when the conditions for germination and growth are favorable throughout the year, it is the large seeds, capable of germinating immediately and producing more robust seedlings, which adapt better," Rubio highlights.

From the data obtained in this research, "we can establish predictions about the plants that will occupy the different habitats and even about those that have more capacity to adapt to a particular environment", concludes the researcher.
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