Germination timing, a major determinant of fitness, is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions but the physiological mechanisms regulating it are largely unknown. Barua et al. study Arabidopsis thaliana and find that some attributes, such as sensitivity to GA, predict germination responses to multiple seasonal cues while others, such as ABA sensitivity and seed-coat properties, predict responses to specific cues. The physiological mechanism associated with germination responses to specific environments can therefore influence the potential to adapt to novel combinations of environmental factors experienced during colonization or future climate change.
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