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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Apr;14(2):204-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.03.009. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Natural epigenetic variation in plant species: a view from the field.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Researchers are beginning to use wild plant populations to survey and assess cytosine methylation polymorphisms in a population and ecological genetic framework. These studies support the plausibility of adaptive epigenetic alleles, but uncertainty remains due to the difficulty in untangling genetic and epigenetic variation in wild populations. The increasing emphasis on stress-induced epigenetic alterations and transgenerational phenomena among researchers focused on epigenetic mechanisms should push practitioners of this subfield to consider the questions and tools of colleagues grappling with epigenetics from ecological and evolutionary perspectives.

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