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Summary

Embryos of Zea mays that had lost viability were still able to continue certain metabolic processes. Radicle emergence and cell division did not occur, and mitochondria and plastids appeared to be degenerate. However, ER synthesis and delayed polysome formation occurred, 3-uridine and 3H-leucine were incorporated, and certain cells were able to take up 3H-thymidine. From the sequence of events, it is concluded that loss of viability was due to general damage to macromolecules, including nucleic acids, membrane components, and enzymes.