Now out in PNAS: Epigenetics during clonal reproduction

Partial maintenance of organ-specific epigenetic marks during plant asexual reproduction leads to heritable phenotypic variation

OA | Phenotypic variation after clonal propagation due to altered epigenetics

Wibowo, Becker et al.

PNAS, published online September 10, 2018

While clonally propagated individuals should share identical genomes, there is often substantial phenotypic variation among them. Both genetic and epigenetic modifications induced during regeneration have been associated with this phenomenon. Here we investigated the fate of the epigenome after asexual propagation by generating clonal individuals from differentiated somatic cells through the manipulation of a zygotic transcription factor. We found that phenotypic novelty in clonal progeny was linked to epigenetic imprints that reflect the organ used for regeneration. Some of these organ-specific imprints can be maintained during the cloning process and subsequent rounds of meiosis. Our findings are fundamental for understanding the significance of epigenetic variability arising from asexual reproduction and have significant implications for future biotechnological applications.