News & AnalysisPlant Biology

Evolution Heresy? Epigenetics Underlies Heritable Plant Traits

Science  06 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6150, pp. 1055
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6150.1055

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Summary

For some evolutionary biologists, just hearing the term epigenetics raises hackles. They balk at suggestions that something other than changes in DNA sequences, such as the chemical addition of methyl groups to DNA or other so-called epigenetic modifications, has a role in evolution. Yet a provocative study presented at an evolutionary biology meeting last month found that heritable changes in plant flowering time and other traits were the result of epigenetics alone, unaided by any sequence changes.