Epi-fingerprinting and epi-interventions for improved crop production and food quality

Carlos Marcelino Rodríguez López, Michael Wilkinson

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Abstract

Increasing crop production at a time of rapid climate change represents the greatest challenge facing contemporary agricultural research. Our understanding of the genetic control of yield derives from controlled field experiments designed to minimize environmental variance. In spite of these efforts there is substantial residual variability among plants attributable to Genotype × Environment interactions. Recent advances in the field of epigenetics have revealed a plethora of gene control mechanisms that could account for much of this unassigned variation. These systems act as a regulatory interface between the perception of the environment and associated alterations in gene expression. Direct intervention of epigenetic control systems hold the enticing promise of creating new sources of variability that could enhance crop performance. Equally, understanding the relationship between various epigenetic states and responses of the crop to specific aspects of the growing environment (epigenetic fingerprinting) could allow for a more tailored approach to plant agronomy. In this review, we explore the many ways in which epigenetic interventions and epigenetic fingerprinting can be deployed for the improvement of crop production and quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number397
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume6
Early online date05 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Fingerprinting
  • epigenetics
  • crop biotechnology
  • crop plants
  • crop quality
  • crop protection
  • Crop Improvement
  • priming

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