The gametophytic maternal effect mutant medea (mea) shows aberrant growth regulation during embryogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana.Embryos derived from mea eggs grow excessively and die during seed desiccation. Embryo lethality is independent of the paternal contribution and gene dosage. The mea phenotype is consistent with the parental conflict theory for the evolution of parent-of-origin-specific effects. MEA encodes a SET domain protein similar to Enhancer of zeste, a member of the Polycomb group. In animals, Polycomb group proteins ensure the stable inheritance of expression patterns through cell division and regulate the control of cell proliferation.