An embryo (irregularly from Greek: ???????, plural ??????, lit. "that which grows," from en- "in" + bryein, "to swell, be full"; the proper Latinate form would be embryum) is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo until about eight weeks after fertilization (i.e. ten weeks after the last menstrual period or LMP), and from then it is instead called a fetus. The development of the embryo is called embryogenesis. In organisms that reproduce sexually, once a sperm fertilizes an egg cell, the result is a cell called the zygote, which possesses half the DNA of each of its two parents. In plants, animals, and some protists, the zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

Germination is the process by which plants, fungus and bacteria emerge from seeds and spores, and begin growth. The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm. However the growth of a sporeling from a spore, for example the growth of hyphae from fungal spores, is also germination. In a more general sense, germination can imply anything expanding into greater being from a small existence or germ, a method that is commonly used by many seed germination projects. Germination is the growth of an embryonic plant contained within a seed; it results in the formation of the seedling. The seed of a vascular plant is a small package produced in a fruit or cone after the union of male and female sex cells. All fully developed seeds contain an embryo and, in most plant species some store of food reserves, wrapped in a seed coat. Some plants produce varying numbers of seeds that lack embryos; these are called empty seeds[1] and never germinate. Most seeds go through a period of dormancy where there is no active growth; during this time the seed can be safely transported to a new location and/or survive adverse climate conditions until circumstances are favorable for growth. Dormant seeds are ripe seeds that do not germinate because they are subject to external environmental conditions that prevent the initiation of metabolic processes and cell growth. Under proper conditions, the seed begins to germinate and the embryonic tissues resume growth, developing towards a seedling.