University of York scientists have identified a key gene that helps seeds decide whether to germinate. Scientists have known that the plant hormones abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberelins (GA) play an important role in seed germination. However, in this breakthrough research, they identified the MFT gene as the key component that integrates signals from ABA and GA. The MFT gene is regulated by light quality and stops seeds from germinating when they are in the dark or shady area, where their survival rates would be poor. In dark or shady conditions, it directs the production of MFT protein, which regulates germination by switching on a block of growth-preventing genes and switching off another block of growth-promoting genes.