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Genes 2019, 10(4), 256;

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

Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique (EDB, UMR 5174), Université Fédérale de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, CNRS, IRD, UPS. 118 route de Narbonne, Bat 4R1, CEDEX 9, 31062 Toulouse, France
PSL Université Paris: EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR 3278 CRIOBE, Université de Perpignan, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, CEDEX 9, 66860 Perpignan, France
Laboratoire de Biologie des Ligneux et des Grandes Cultures (LBLGC, EA 1207 USC 1328 INRA), Université Orléans, 45067 Orléans, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics and Adaptation)
PDF [794 KB, uploaded 25 April 2019]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: phenotypic plasticity; DNA methylation; shade avoidance; stem elongation; snapdragon phenotypic plasticity; DNA methylation; shade avoidance; stem elongation; snapdragon

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Gourcilleau, D.; Mousset, M.; Latutrie, M.; Marin, S.; Delaunay, A.; Maury, S.; Pujol, B. Assessing Global DNA Methylation Changes Associated with Plasticity in Seven Highly Inbred Lines of Snapdragon Plants (Antirrhinum majus). Genes 2019, 10, 256.

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