Epigenetics: Possible applications in climate-smart crop breeding

Serena Varotto, Eleni Tani, Eleni Abraham, Tamar Krugman, Aliki Kapazoglou, Rainer Melzer, Aleksandra Radanović, Dragana Miladinoviæ

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To better adapt transiently or lastingly to stimuli from the surrounding environment, the chromatin states in plant cells vary to allow the cells to fine-tune their transcriptional profiles. Modifications of chromatin states involve a wide range of post-transcriptional histone modifications, histone variants, DNA methylation, and activity of non-coding RNAs, which can epigenetically determine specific transcriptional outputs. Recent advances in the area of '-omics' of major crops have facilitated identification of epigenetic marks and their effect on plant response to environmental stresses. As most epigenetic mechanisms are known from studies in model plants, we summarize in this review recent epigenetic studies that may be important for improvement of crop adaptation and resilience to environmental changes, ultimately leading to the generation of stable climate-smart crops. This has paved the way for exploitation of epigenetic variation in crop breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5223-5236
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number17
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Abiotic stress
  • Breeding
  • Chromatin
  • Climate-smart
  • Crops
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic changes
  • Small RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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