The practicalities of understanding the seed germination process are obvious; humans depend directly on seeds for much of our food; seeds are the regenerative unit upon which agriculture and civilization depends. The fundamental importance of the orthodox seed as the cornerstone of agriculture is in stark contrast to our lack of a basic understanding of the seed as a propagule. How can a seed dry to 5 to 10 percent moisture content and still be alive? How does the seed integrate environmental information with its internal physiological status to orchestrate the completion of germination under appropriate conditions? Society relies on seeds withstanding storage and completing germination to establish crops; yet, a fundamental understanding of a seed's ability to abide at very low moisture for years is lacking. Poor understanding of seed storage and germination control prevents engineering these traits, despite their great biotechnological potential, e.g., avoiding preharvest sprouting while enabling synchronous field emergence in increasingly unpredictable environments. So, how much do YOU know about the food you eat? Good luck with these quizzes! Multiple Choice Quiz Script

1) What percentage of the human diet is comprised directly of seeds?
a) 10%
b) 20%
c) 50%
d) 70%
e) We do not eat seeds.

2) What is the longest storage period (verified through direct carbon dating of the seed testa once germination was complete) known to have maintained a seed in the viable state?
a) 5 months
b) 2 years
c) 10 years
d) 120 years
e) 2000 years

3) What species holds the record for the oldest known storage period (carbon dated testa following successful completion of germination and seedling establishment) maintaining seed viability?
a) Zea mays (maize)
b) Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine))
c) Phoenix dactylifera (Date palm)
d) Oryza sativa (domestic rice)
e) Solanum tuberosum (true potato seed)

4) What species produces the largest known seed by weight?
a) Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant sequoia)
b) Lodoicea maldivica (coco-de-mer palm)
c) Cocos nucifera (Coconut palm)
d) Victoria cruziana (Giant water lily)
e) Theobroma cacao (Cocoa tree)

5) What percentage of the total cost of producing a modern-day soybean crop is represented by the cost of the seed used to sow the crop?
a) 1%
b) 5%
c) 27%
d) 36%
e) 48%

6) What is the record number of seeds found in the seed capsule of certain epiphytic orchids of the tropical rain forest?
a) 1000s
b) 10,000s
c) 100,000s
d) 1,000,000s
e) 10,000,000s

7) What percentage of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) seeds survived, unprotected on the outside of the International Space Station after 18 months?
a) 0%)
b) 5%
c) 25%
d) 50%
e) 80%

8) Cotton is produced from trichomes (hairs) occurring on what part of the seed?
a) The hypocotyl of the embryo.
b) The surface of the seed coat or testa.
c) The upper surface (adaxial side) of the cotyledons (seed leaves).
d) The outside layer of the endosperm.
e) None of the above. Cotton does not come from seeds.

9) Some species seeds produce a fleshy protuberance on the seed coat (elaiosome) that is probably used to . . .?
a) Entice ants to pick up the seeds and spread them geographically.
b) Paste the seed to the soil surface so it doesn't blow or wash away.
c) Attract birds to digest the whole seed, aiding in seed dispersal.
d) Buoy up the seed as it travels down a river. Only plant species that grow by water produce elaisome-containing seeds.
e) Stick the seed to the fur of animals that pass by, aiding in seed dispersal.

10) Black pepper (drupe plus seed) and white pepper (seed only), combined, are currently the most extensively traded spice in . . .?
a) Certain regions of the Netherlands.
b) Areas of the south and east of China.
c) The Indian sub-continent, including Sri Lanka.
d) The world.
e) None of the above.

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