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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Apr;14(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Selected aspects of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and resetting in plants.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of Geneva, Sciences III, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.


Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI), which is the inheritance of expression states and thus traits that are not determined by the DNA sequence, is often postulated but the molecular mechanisms involved are only rarely verified. This especially applies to the heritability of environmentally induced traits, which have gained interest over the last years. Here we will discuss selected examples of epigenetic inheritance in plants and artificially divide them according to the occurrence of inter-generational resetting. The decision which epigenetic marks are reset and which ones are not is crucial for the understanding of TEI. We will consider examples of epialleles found in natural populations and epialleles induced by genetic and/or environmental factors used in experimental setups.

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