It is well known that a broad range of phenotypes can be originated from the same genotype, which is associated to the organism’s phenotypic plasticity in response to new environments. Part of this adaptive plasticity occur almost immediately after a new stress exposure, through coordinated modulation of gene expression patterns. Gene expression changes can be modulated by epigenetic mechanisms, which can be long-lasting and sometimes heritable without a change in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications and small RNA interference. Moreover, phenotypic plasticity is essential for immobile organisms as they cannot move away from unfavorable environments. In this sense, adaptive and plastic epigenetic modulation may be of crucial importance for long-lived plants such as trees. Thus, the aim of our project is to understand the underlying epigenetic mechanisms associated with the response to biotic and abiotic stresses in the black poplar (Populus nigra), a clonal species distributed across Europe. We envision to generate comprehensive stress-responsive patterns for this non-model tree species, to study the stability of this epigenetic memory and its transmission to the offspring, and to unravel the epigenetic mechanisms involved in a plant-pathogen interaction
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