In order to investigate the interaction of the plant hormones ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA) and cytokinin in seed germination and early seedling development, we studied germination in ethylene-related mutants of Arabidopsis. Mutations in the genes etr1 and ein2, which reduce ethylene responses, showed increased dormancy and a delay in germination in comparison with wild type. Mutations in etr1, ein2 and ein6 also resulted in increased sensitivity to ABA with respect to inhibition of germination. Conversely, mutations in ctr1 and eto3, which lead to an increased ethylene response and overproduction of ethylene, respectively, decreased sensitivity to ABA during germination. Increased ABA sensitivity was also effected in wild type seeds by the presence during germination of AgNO3, an inhibitor of ethylene action. The addition of the cytokinin N-6 benzyl adenine (BA) reversed the increased sensitivity of ethylene-resistant mutants to ABA. The action of cytokinin in reversing increased ABA sensitivity of ethylene-resistant mutants also suggests that at least part of the action of cytokinin in promoting germination is independent of its role in stimulating ethylene production. These observations further extend the evidence in support of interaction between ethylene, ABA and cytokinin signalling in controlling seed germination and early seedling development in Arabidopsis.