Michal Lieberman-Lazarovich
Taehoon Kim
Prashant Kumar Singh
Kevin Begcy

Epigenetic modifications are covalently bound molecular marks on the DNA or histones in the context of chromatin. These marks, found to be abundant in all angiosperms investigated so far, play central roles during plant development and response to environmental cues. Epigenetic marks are dynamic and are actively added or removed in response to different cellular cues, resulting in a tight regulation of gene expression. Although epigenetic marks are known to be important for plant development, their role in crop performance under stress conditions receives growing attention. In this chapter, we highlight recent findings linking different classes of epigenetic marks (DNA methylation, histone modifications, and histone variants) to the response to various abiotic stresses in crop plants. Last, we discuss the potential of epigenetics as a new, challenging path to trait improvement for the enhancement of abiotic stress resilience in crops, in light of global climate change.

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Chapter 6 - Epigenetics in horticultural crops: consequences and applications in abiotic stress tolerance

Michal Lieberman-Lazarovich
Taehoon Kim
Prashant Kumar Singh
Kevin Begcy

Chapter 6 - Epigenetics in horticultural crops: consequences and applications in abiotic stress tolerance

Epigenetic modifications are covalently bound molecular marks on the DNA or histones in the context of chromatin. These marks, found to be abundant in all angiosperms investigated so far, play central roles during plant development and response to environmental cues. Epigenetic marks are dynamic and are actively added or removed in response to different cellular cues, resulting in a tight regulation of gene expression. Although epigenetic marks are known to be important for plant development, their role in crop performance under stress conditions receives growing attention. In this chapter, we highlight recent findings linking different classes of epigenetic marks (DNA methylation, histone modifications, and histone variants) to the response to various abiotic stresses in crop plants. Last, we discuss the potential of epigenetics as a new, challenging path to trait improvement for the enhancement of abiotic stress resilience in crops, in light of global climate change.

Scientific Publication