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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Jun;14(3):267-74. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Epigenetic contribution to stress adaptation in plants.

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


Plant epigenetics has recently gained unprecedented interest, not only as a subject of basic research but also as a possible new source of beneficial traits for plant breeding. We discuss here mechanisms of epigenetic regulation that should be considered when undertaking the latter. Since these mechanisms are responsible for the formation of heritable epigenetic gene variants (epialleles) and also regulate transposons mobility, both aspects could be exploited to broaden plant phenotypic and genetic variation, which could improve long-term plant adaptation to environmental challenges and, thus, increase productivity.

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