Cultured plant cells show phenotypic variation, some of which results from epigenetic changes – mitotically heritable but reversible alterations in gene expression that do not result from permanent genetic modifications. Some epigenetic changes are also transmitted during meiosis; these are called epimutations, and Meins and Thomas now report that epimutations can arise frequently in cultured tobacco plant cells (see p. 6201). Leaf cells normally require the cell-division factor cytokinin for continuous growth in culture – they have a C- phenotype. However, when cultured in media containing cytokinin, some of these cells rapidly alternate between a C- and a C+ (cytokinin-independent) state, a phenomenon called pseudodirected variation. Meins and Thomas show that in plants regenerated from most C+ clones, leaf tissues retained the C+ phenotype. This trait was meiotically transmitted but rapidly reverted to the C- phenotype during successive sexual generations,leading the researchers to conclude that pseudodirected variation is a new form of epimutation.
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IN THIS ISSUE| 22 December 2003
Epimutation in plant culture
Online ISSN: 1477-9129
Print ISSN: 0950-1991
© The Company of Biologists Limited 2003
Development (2003) 130 (25): e2504.
Epimutation in plant culture. Development 22 December 2003; 130 (25): e2504. doi:
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