Redenbaugh22 defined a synthetic seed as a somatic embryo inside a coating, and as being directly analogous to natural seed. Several names have been used for such a "seed", including artificial seed, seed analog and somatic embryo seed. At Weyerhaeuser Company, we use the term "manufactured" seed, to reflect the nature of the construct more accurately.23 Several patents and papers have been published on synthetic seed design exhibiting low percentage germination.17,22 Germination is limited by lack of oxygen, nutrition, tolerance to desiccation and mechanical damage. Carlson et al24 published a seed design which overcomes many of these problems. This was accomplished by providing oxygen carrier emulsions, a hard seed coat (wax impregnated paper) to prevent mechanical damage and desiccation, and a cotyledon restraint system to ensure emergence of the germinating embryo without trapping in the gel. Manufactured seed research is moving rapidly and will make it possible to deliver somatic embryos to the field economically.
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