SEED BIOLOGY
UNDERSTANDING HOW THESE COMPLEX ENTITIES FUNCTION
NATURAL PROTECTION AND REPAIR MECHANISMS
  The capacity of orthodox seeds to survive dehydration is, quite simply, fascinating! In the dehydrated state, scientific evidence exists documenting the survival of 20-25 percent of Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) and Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) seeds for a year and a half in space. At first glance this seems unremarkable, similar to human endurance in space (Valery Polyakov), but for the fact that the seeds were unprotected on the OUTSIDE of the space station for the duration of the 18 months (Tepfer et al. 2012)! Back on earth, carbon-dated seed coats, following the completion of germination, have been used to document the survival of both the seeds of Nelumbo nucifera (Sacred Lotus) and Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palm), for over one thousand years (Shen-Miller et al., 1995; Sallon et al., 2008). These remarkable feats are possible due to the fact that the cells of the seeds are dehydrated to less than 10 percent moisture content. The membrane- and protein-constituents of cells are adversely influenced by such extreme loss of water and their tolerance of such drastic dehydration in seed cells is reflected in few other stages of the plant life cycle – if any. We have focused on elucidating how the stored seed proteome (produced late during embryogenesis, prior to dehydration, and stored in the desiccated seed for use during germination) is protected prior to and during dehydration, and repaired after the reintroduction of water (imbibition). 

References 
Tepfer D., Zalar A., Leach S. "Survival of Plant Seeds, Their UV Screens, and nptII DNA for 18 Months Outside the International Space Station. 2012. Astrobiology. 12: 517-28. doi: 10.1089/ast.2011.0744.
 
Sallon S., Solowey E., Cohen Y., Korchinsky R., Egli M., Woodhatch I., Simchoni O., Kislev M. "Germination, Genetics, and Growth of an Ancient Date Seed." 2008. Science. 320: 5882, 1464. DOI: 10.1126/science.1153600
 
Shen-Miller J., Mudgett M.B., Schopf J.W., Clarke S, Berger R. "Exceptional Seed Longevity and Robust Growth: Ancient Sacred Lotus from China." 1995. American Journal of Botany. 82: 11, 1367-1380.