Temperature variability is integrated by a spatially embedded decision-making center to break dormancy in Arabidopsis seeds

Both plants and animals make decisions in response to the environment to maximize their fitness. Plants use dormancy in seeds to move through time and space, and timing of the transition to germination is influenced by external cues, including temperature. Here, we report the presence of a decision-making center within the root tip of dormant seeds and demonstrate that it shares a similar configuration as some systems within the human brain. Unlike in humans, where this spatial structure is used to filter out noisy inputs from the environment, seeds use this arrangement to harness fluctuating temperatures and stimulate the termination of dormancy. Variable inputs therefore act as an instructive signal for seeds, enhancing the accuracy with which plants are established in ecosystems.

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