Seed Science

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Seed Science


the study of the structure and development of seeds from the moment of fertilization of the egg cell on the maternal plant until formation of a new plant from the seed.

Seed science is divided into two sections: one section, known as carpology, studies the seeds and fruits of wild plants, and the other section studies the seeds of cultivated plants. Seed science is the theoretical basis of seed growing. Agricultural seed science also elaborates methods of evaluating and controlling seed material. The science is closely connected with botany, biochemistry, genetics, and other biological sciences; it uses the research methods of each of these sciences.

The history of seed science is associated with the history of botany; the basis of the science was the botanical study of plant organs and plant reproduction. The first fundamental work of seed science, written by the German botanist F. Nobbe, was published in 1876. In Russia the first monograph was published in 1882 (N. E. Tsabel’, Spermatology or the Study of Seeds, part 1, Moscow, 1882). Significant contributions to the development of seed science were made by A. F. Batalin, B. L. Isachenko, P. R. Slezkin, K. I. Pangalo, D. K. Larionov, and I. A. Stebut.

After the October Revolution of 1917 seed science was established as an independent science, and its development was greatly promoted by N. N. Kuleshov, V. N. Dobrokhotov, N. V. Tsinger, K. V. Kamenskii, N. A. Maisurian, and la. S. Modilevskii. In 1931 a department of seed science was organized at the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Plant Breeding to intensify methodological work in the science. The department played an important role in elaborating methods of seed analysis and in the training of specialists in seed science. In 1960 laboratories of seed science were established at leading scientific research institutes, and coordination of all research was entrusted to the V. Ia. Iur’ev Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Plant Breeding, Selection, and Genetics in Kharkov. Conferences on seed science have been conducted regularly (every one to three years) since 1961. More than 300 research institutions and institutes of higher learning conduct research on seed science. Their principal concern is the study of seed biology and of the formation of the harvest qualities of seeds, as well as the elaboration of methods of seed analysis.

Problems of seed science are regularly discussed in the journal Selektsiia i semenovodstvo (published since 1929; until 1935 Semenovodstvo). Specialists in seed science are trained by the agronomy departments of agricultural institutes of higher learning.

Seed-science research abroad is discussed in proceedings of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).


Tsinger. N. V. Semia, ego razvitie i fiziologicheskie svoistva. Moscow, 1958.
Kuleshov, N. N. Agronomicheskoe semenovedenie. Moscow, 1963.
Strona, I. G. Obshchee semenovedenie polevykh kul’tur. Moscow, 1966.
Gritsenko, V. V., and Z. M. Kaloshina. Semenovedenie polevykh kul’tur. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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