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Assessing Global DNA Methylation Changes Associated with Plasticity in Seven Highly Inbred Lines of Snapdragon Plants (Antirrhinum majus)

Assessing Global DNA Methylation Changes Associated with Plasticity in Seven Highly Inbred Lines of Snapdragon Plants (Antirrhinum majus)

Genes 10(4)

ISSN/ISBN: 2073-4425

PMID: 30925802

DOI: 10.3390/genes10040256

Genetic and epigenetic variations are commonly known to underlie phenotypic plastic responses to environmental cues. However, the role of epigenetic variation in plastic responses harboring ecological significance in nature remains to be assessed. The shade avoidance response (SAR) of plants is one of the most prevalent examples of phenotypic plasticity. It is a phenotypic syndrome including stem elongation and multiple other traits. Its ecological significance is widely acknowledged, and it can be adaptive in the presence of competition for light. Underlying genes and pathways were identified, but evidence for its epigenetic basis remains scarce. We used a proven and accessible approach at the population level and compared global DNA methylation between plants exposed to regular light and three different magnitudes of shade in seven highly inbred lines of snapdragon plants (Antirrhinum majus) grown in a greenhouse. Our results brought evidence of a strong SAR syndrome for which magnitude did not vary between lines. They also brought evidence that its magnitude was not associated with the global DNA methylation percentage for five of the six traits under study. The magnitude of stem elongation was significantly associated with global DNA demethylation. We discuss the limits of this approach and why caution must be taken with such results. In-depth approaches at the DNA sequence level will be necessary to better understand the molecular basis of the SAR syndrome.

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Accession: 066638126

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