Plant embryogenesis, takes place inside of the seed and lays the foundational for almost everything else that will take place during a plant’s life. Top and bottom are established, setting up the shoot apex and the root pole. Inside and out are delineated and with that tissue layers arise. Many of the basic cellular processes take place for the first time. Plus, in addition to all of this, food reserves must be stored so that once the seed germinates, the seedling has enough energy to grow up into the sunlight and begin photosynthesis.
Many genes involved in embryogenesis are so critical, that when mutated, the embryos are simply not viable. In the Silady lab we study one particular mutant, gravitropism defective 2(grv2), that is able to grow into a fertile plant (imaged above). Thus, we are able to study how the mutation affects the plant throughout development. grv2 mutants, in addition to having abnormal embryo development, also have altered tropic responses in hypocotyls and shoots, but not roots.