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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Apr;21(2):124-33. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.01.017. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Epigenetic regulation and reprogramming during gamete formation in plants.

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  • 1Institute of Plant Biology, Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008 Zürich, Switzerland.


Plants and animals reproduce sexually via specialized, highly differentiated gametes. Yet, gamete formation drastically differs between the two kingdoms. In flowering plants, the specification of cells destined to enter meiosis occurs late in development, gametic and accessory cells are usually derived from the same meiotic product, and two distinct female gametes involved in double fertilization differentiate. This poses fascinating questions in terms of gamete development and the associated epigenetic processes. Although studies in this area remain at their infancy, it becomes clear that large-scale epigenetic reprogramming, involving RNA-directed DNA methylation, chromatin modifications, and nucleosome remodeling, contributes to the establishment of transcriptionally repressive or permissive epigenetic landscapes. Furthermore, a role for small RNAs in the regulation of transposable elements during gametogenesis is emerging.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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