• Open Access

Epigenetic regulation of adaptive responses of forest tree species to the environment

Authors

  • Katharina Bräutigam,

    1. Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and Function, Department of Cell & Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Kelly J. Vining,

    1. Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
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  • Clément Lafon-Placette,

    1. UFR-Faculté des Sciences, UPRES EA 1207 ‘Laboratoire de Biologie des Ligneux et des Grandes Cultures’ (LBLGC), INRA, USC1328 ‘Arbres et Réponses aux Contraintes Hydrique et Environnementales’ (ARCHE), University of Orléans, BP 6759, Orléans, France
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  • Carl G. Fossdal,

    1. Department of Biology and Environment, Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Aas, Norway
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  • Marie Mirouze,

    1. Epigenetic Regulations and Seed Development, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR232 ERL5300 CNRS-IRD, Montpellier, France
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  • José Gutiérrez Marcos,

    1. School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warkwick, United Kingdom
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  • Silvia Fluch,

    1. Platform for Integrated Clone Management (PICME), Health & Environment Department, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Tulln, Austria
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  • Mario Fernández Fraga,

    1. Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory, Institute of Oncology of Asturias (IUOPA–HUCA), University of Oviedo, Spain
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  • M. Ángeles Guevara,

    1. Dpt. of Forest Ecology and Genetics, Forest Genomics and Ecophysiology group, Forest Research Centre (CIFOR). INIA, Madrid, Spain
    2. Mixed Unit of Forest Genomics and Ecophysiology, INIA/UPM, Madrid, Spain
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  • Dolores Abarca,

    1. Department of Life Sciences, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
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  • Øystein Johnsen,

    1. Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
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  • Stéphane Maury,

    1. UFR-Faculté des Sciences, UPRES EA 1207 ‘Laboratoire de Biologie des Ligneux et des Grandes Cultures’ (LBLGC), INRA, USC1328 ‘Arbres et Réponses aux Contraintes Hydrique et Environnementales’ (ARCHE), University of Orléans, BP 6759, Orléans, France
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  • Steven H. Strauss,

    1. Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
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  • Malcolm M. Campbell,

    1. Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and Function, Department of Cell & Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Antje Rohde,

    1. Department Plant Growth & Development, Institute of Agriculture and Fisheries Research, Melle, Belgium
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  • Carmen Díaz-Sala,

    1. Department of Life Sciences, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
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  • María-Teresa Cervera

    Corresponding author
    1. Dpt. of Forest Ecology and Genetics, Forest Genomics and Ecophysiology group, Forest Research Centre (CIFOR). INIA, Madrid, Spain
    2. Mixed Unit of Forest Genomics and Ecophysiology, INIA/UPM, Madrid, Spain
    • Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and Function, Department of Cell & Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Correspondence

María-Teresa Cervera, INIA. Forest Research Centre. Department of Forest Ecology and Genetics, Forest Genomics and Ecophysiology group. Crta. La Coruña km 7,5. 28040 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +(34) 91 347 6798;

Fax: +(34) 91 347 6767;

E-mail: cervera@inia.es

Abstract

Epigenetic variation is likely to contribute to the phenotypic plasticity and adaptative capacity of plant species, and may be especially important for long-lived organisms with complex life cycles, including forest trees. Diverse environmental stresses and hybridization/polyploidization events can create reversible heritable epigenetic marks that can be transmitted to subsequent generations as a form of molecular “memory”. Epigenetic changes might also contribute to the ability of plants to colonize or persist in variable environments. In this review, we provide an overview of recent data on epigenetic mechanisms involved in developmental processes and responses to environmental cues in plant, with a focus on forest tree species. We consider the possible role of forest tree epigenetics as a new source of adaptive traits in plant breeding, biotechnology, and ecosystem conservation under rapid climate change.

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