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Genetics. 2011 Aug;188(4):1015-7. doi: 10.1534/genetics.111.128744. Epub 2011 May 19.

Genome-wide epigenetic perturbation jump-starts patterns of heritable variation found in nature.

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  • 1Laboratoire Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 3268, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille 1, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.


We extensively phenotyped 6000 Arabidopsis plants with experimentally perturbed DNA methylomes as well as a diverse panel of natural accessions in a common garden. We found that alterations in DNA methylation not only caused heritable phenotypic diversity but also produced heritability patterns closely resembling those of the natural accessions. Our findings indicate that epigenetically induced and naturally occurring variation in complex traits share part of their polygenic architecture and may offer complementary adaptation routes in ecological settings.

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