Somatic embryogenesis, the initiation of embryos from previously differentiated somatic cells, is a unique process in plants. This volume expands our view of a subject that is important for plant biotechnology, genetics, cell biology, development, and agricultural applications. All chapters present the latest research progress, including functional genomic, genetic, and proteomic approaches. A special focus is placed on the effects of stress, environment, and plant growth regulators on embryogenesis. The role of genes such as Leafy Cotyledons and Baby Boom in defining and maintaining cell competence is discussed.