Epigenetics and epigenomics: underlying mechanisms, relevance, and implications in crop improvement

Gaurav Agarwal, Himabindu Kudapa, Abirami Ramalingam, Divya Choudhary, Pallavi Sinha, Vanika Garg, Vikas K. Singh, Gunvant B. Patil, Manish K. Pandey, Henry T. Nguyen, Baozhu Guo, Ramanjulu Sunkar, Chad E. Niederhuth, Rajeev K. Varshney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Epigenetics is defined as changes in gene expression that are not associated with changes in DNA sequence but due to the result of methylation of DNA and post-translational modifications to the histones. These epigenetic modifications are known to regulate gene expression by bringing changes in the chromatin state, which underlies plant development and shapes phenotypic plasticity in responses to the environment and internal cues. This review articulates the role of histone modifications and DNA methylation in modulating biotic and abiotic stresses, as well as crop improvement. It also highlights the possibility of engineering epigenomes and epigenome-based predictive models for improving agronomic traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-761
Number of pages23
JournalFunctional and Integrative Genomics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • DNA methylation
  • EpiRILs
  • Epigenetic inheritance
  • Epigenome engineering
  • Histone modifications


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