Apr 8, 2020

Epigenetic transgenerational effects on RNAi in Arabidopsis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Quan'an HuF. Meins

Abstract

Epigenetic states and even certain environmental responses in nematodes, mammals and seed plants can be inherited over successive generations. These transgenerational effects challenge traditional views of heredity and could have evolutionary consequences. RNAi in plants is an epigenetic form of RNA degradation that is normally reset early in development. In contrast, competence, i.e., the susceptibility of a transgene for RNAi, is believed to be genetically determined and faithfully transmitted over many generations. Unexpectedly, we found that the same yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) transgene in a monogenic, homozygous line of Arabidopsis exhibited two epigenetic states of RNAi: type I, which is initiated in rosette leaves and is stable in later developmental stages, and, type II, which is initiated after floral induction and is unstable. The incidence of type I plants descended from type I parents decreased over three successive generations of self-fertilized plants. By the third generation, a substantial fraction of plants from type I parents exhibited either the type II phenotype or remained high-YFP expressing throughout sporophytic development, indicating that silencing had been completely lost. Similarly, plants desce...Continue Reading

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