Epigenetics Podcast podcast

Transgenerational Inheritance and Epigenetic Imprinting in Plants (Mary Gehring)

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In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we talked with Mary Gehring from MIT about her work on transgenerational inheritance and epigenetic imprinting in plants.

Mary Gehring and her team are focusing on plant epigenetics and genetic imprinting in plants, studying DNA methylation in Arabidopsis. They have found significant differences in DNA methylation between the embryo and endosperm of plants, particularly in relation to imprinted genes. She also discusses their work on hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) in Arabidopsis and the challenges of detecting and studying this epigenetic modification.

Next, we discuss the regulatory circuit involving ROS1, a DNA glycosylase involved in demethylation, and its role in maintaining epigenetic homeostasis. The interview concludes with a discussion of CUT&RUN, which the lab has adapted for use in plants. Due to its low input requirements this method has been valuable in studying various plant tissues and has influenced Mary Gehring's research on imprinting in Arabidopsis endosperm.



  • Gehring, M., Bubb, K. L., & Henikoff, S. (2009). Extensive demethylation of repetitive elements during seed development underlies gene imprinting. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5933), 1447–1451. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1171609

  • Pignatta, D., Erdmann, R. M., Scheer, E., Picard, C. L., Bell, G. W., & Gehring, M. (2014). Natural epigenetic polymorphisms lead to intraspecific variation in Arabidopsis gene imprinting. eLife, 3, e03198. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03198

  • Klosinska, M., Picard, C. L., & Gehring, M. (2016). Conserved imprinting associated with unique epigenetic signatures in the Arabidopsis genus. Nature plants, 2, 16145. https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.145

  • Zheng, X. Y., & Gehring, M. (2019). Low-input chromatin profiling in Arabidopsis endosperm using CUT&RUN. Plant reproduction, 32(1), 63–75. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00497-018-00358-1


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