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CSB Departmental Seminar: Epigenetic reprogramming in plants: small RNA goes a long way

January 17, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

PhD/Research Director Jean-Sebastién Parent
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC/AAC)

“Epigenetic reprogramming in plants: small RNA goes a long way”


Epigenetic marks are defined as nuclear information not contained in the DNA sequence itself but rather associated with the DNA molecule. Being reversible by nature, these marks present the opportunity for the organism to make rapid but temporary adjustments to its perceived environment. Given that plants have an intimate relationship with their surroundings, it is not surprising that they possess several molecular pathways capable of establishing and propagating epigenetic marks. Remarkably, it has been known for decades that plants are able to transmit epigenetic information from one generation to the next. There has therefore been considerable efforts deployed to define the epigenetic pathways found in plants and to identify the different biological aspects they influence. Recent studies have highlighted that at least some epigenetic reprogramming is occurring in the plant reproductive cells, like it does in their animal counterparts. It has also been found that the developing embryo is accumulating high levels of specific heterochromatic marks in the seed, the function of which is still unknown. Our research has demonstrated that small RNA molecules play an important role in both instances. As they are able to guide epigenetic silencing machinery to homologous sequences and travel from cell to cell, we suspect that these molecules could have far-reaching roles in reproductive barriers, polyploidization an seed development.

Host: Daphne Goring: daphne.goring@utoronto.ca


January 17, 2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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