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Title

Ecological plant epigenetics: Evidence from model and non-model species, and the way forward

AuthorsRichards, Christina L.; Alonso, Conchita ; Becker, Claude; Bossdorf, Oliver; Bucher, Etienne; Colomé-Tatché, Maria; Durka, Walter; Engelhardt, Jan; Gaspar, Bence; Gogol-Döring, Andreas
Issue Date2017
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
CitationEcology Letters, 20(12): 1586-1590 (2016)
AbstractGrowing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation. In contrast, studies with model species have benefited from powerful genomic resources, which contribute to a more mechanistic understanding but have limited ecological realism. Understanding the significance of epigenetics for plant ecology requires increased transfer of knowledge and methods from model species research to genomes of evolutionarily divergent species, and examination of responses to complex natural environments at a more mechanistic level. This requires transforming genomics tools specifically for studying non-model species, which is challenging given the large and often polyploid genomes of plants. Collaboration among molecular geneticists, ecologists and bioinformaticians promises to enhance our understanding of the mutual links between genome function and ecological processes.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12858
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/157493
DOI10.1111/ele.12858
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