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Trends Plant Sci. 2010 Apr;15(4):204-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

siRNAs and DNA methylation: seedy epigenetics.

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University of Cambridge Department of Plant Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EA, UK. <>


To understand how DNA sequence is translated to phenotype we must understand the epigenetic features that regulate gene expression. Recent research illuminates the complex interactions between DNA methylation, small RNAs, silencing of transposable elements, and genomic imprinting in the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seed. These studies suggest that transposable elements reactivated in specific cells of the gametophyte and seed might enhance silencing of transposable elements in the germline and embryo. By sacrificing genomic integrity these cells might make an epigenetic rather than genetic contribution to the progeny. This research could have implications for interspecies hybridization, the evolution of genomic imprinting, and epigenetic communication from plant to progeny.

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