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Plant Cell. 2012 Jun;24(6):2257-61. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Reading the second code: mapping epigenomes to understand plant growth, development, and adaptation to the environment.


We have entered a new era in agricultural and biomedical science made possible by remarkable advances in DNA sequencing technologies. The complete sequence of an individual's set of chromosomes (collectively, its genome) provides a primary genetic code for what makes that individual unique, just as the contents of every personal computer reflect the unique attributes of its owner. But a second code, composed of "epigenetic" layers of information, affects the accessibility of the stored information and the execution of specific tasks. Nature's second code is enigmatic and must be deciphered if we are to fully understand and optimize the genetic potential of crop plants. The goal of the Epigenomics of Plants International Consortium is to crack this second code, and ultimately master its control, to help catalyze a new green revolution.

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