Molecular mechanisms of epigenetic variation in plants

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2012, 13 (8), pp. 9900 - 9922
Issue Date:
2012-01-01
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Natural variation is defined as the phenotypic variation caused by spontaneous mutations. In general, mutations are associated with changes of nucleotide sequence, and many mutations in genes that can cause changes in plant development have been identified. Epigenetic change, which does not involve alteration to the nucleotide sequence, can also cause changes in gene activity by changing the structure of chromatin through DNA methylation or histone modifications. Now there is evidence based on induced or spontaneous mutants that epigenetic changes can cause altering plant phenotypes. Epigenetic changes have occurred frequently in plants, and some are heritable or metastable causing variation in epigenetic status within or between species. Therefore, heritable epigenetic variation as well as genetic variation has the potential to drive natural variation. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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