The evolution of seeds was a major reason for the rise of angiosperms to ecological dominance. Seeds of angiosperms are composed of three main structures: the embryo, which will give rise to the next generation; the endosperm, a nurturing tissue whose main function is to deliver nutrients from the mother plant to the embryo; and the seed coat (or testa), a tissue that is derived from the maternal integuments and which provides support and protection to the growing embryo. All three seed components need to exchange signals to ensure co-ordinated growth and development. The present review discusses the structure of the seed coat, its interaction with the endosperm, and bidirectional signalling events between endosperm and seed coat that co-ordinate growth of both tissues. Angiosperm seeds are not only of evolutionary significance, but also of major agronomic importance, demanding a thorough understanding of the events governing seed growth and development.

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