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Nature. 2007 May 24;447(7143):418-24.

Epigenetic inheritance in plants.

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The function of plant genomes depends on chromatin marks such as the methylation of DNA and the post-translational modification of histones. Techniques for studying model plants such as Arabidopsis thaliana have enabled researchers to begin to uncover the pathways that establish and maintain chromatin modifications, and genomic studies are allowing the mapping of modifications such as DNA methylation on a genome-wide scale. Small RNAs seem to be important in determining the distribution of chromatin modifications, and RNA might also underlie the complex epigenetic interactions that occur between homologous sequences. Plants use these epigenetic silencing mechanisms extensively to control development and parent-of-origin imprinted gene expression.

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