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Nat Rev Genet. 2005 May;6(5):351-60.

Gardening the genome: DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

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  • Nat Rev Genet. 2005 Jul;6(7):590.


DNA methylation has two essential roles in plants and animals - defending the genome against transposons and regulating gene expression. Recent experiments in Arabidopsis thaliana have begun to address crucial questions about how DNA methylation is established and maintained. One cardinal insight has been the discovery that DNA methylation can be guided by small RNAs produced through RNA-interference pathways. Plants and mammals use a similar suite of DNA methyltransferases to propagate DNA methylation, but plants have also developed a glycosylase-based mechanism for removing DNA methylation, and there are hints that similar processes function in other organisms.

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