Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 449292
Title Epigenetic variation in asexually reproducing organisms
Author(s) Verhoeven, K.J.F.; Preite, V.
Source Evolution 68 (2014)3. - ISSN 0014-3820 - p. 644 - 655.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12320
Department(s) Laboratory of Nematology
EPS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) dna methylation - arabidopsis-thaliana - japanese knotweed - transgenerational plasticity - phenotypic plasticity - transposable elements - natural-populations - fallopia-japonica - mutation-rates - clonal plants
Abstract The role that epigenetic inheritance can play in adaptation may differ between sexuals and asexuals because (1) the dynamics of adaptation differ under sexual and asexual reproduction and the opportunities offered by epigenetic inheritance may affect these dynamics differently; and (2) in asexual reproduction epigenetic reprogramming mechanisms that are associated with meiosis can be bypassed, which could promote the buildup of epigenetic variation in asexuals. Here, we evaluate current evidence for an epigenetic contribution to adaptation in asexuals. We argue that two aspects of epigenetic variation should have particular relevance for asexuals, namely epigenetics-mediated phenotypic plasticity within and between generations, and heritable variation via stochastic epimutations. An evaluation of epigenetic reprogramming mechanisms suggests that some, but not all, forms of asexual reproduction enhance the likelihood of stable transmission of epigenetic marks across generations compared to sexual reproduction. However, direct tests of these predicted sexual–asexual differences are virtually lacking. Stable transmission of DNA methylation, transcriptomes, and phenotypes from parent to clonal offspring are demonstrated in various asexual species, and clonal genotypes from natural populations show habitat-specific DNA methylation. We discuss how these initial observations can be extended to demonstrate an epigenetic contribution to adaptation.
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