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DNA methylation dynamics during Arabidopsis thaliana development

Serra Serra, Nuria (2018) DNA methylation dynamics during Arabidopsis thaliana development. Master's Research Project 2, Ecology and Evolution.

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DNA methylation (5-methyl-cytosine) is an epigenetic modification involved in silencing of transposable elements (TEs) and regulating gene expression, among others. Unlike mammalian genomes, in which cytosine methylation occurs largely in CG context, plant genomes are methylated in all three possible sequence contexts: CG, CHG and CHH (H = A, T or C), with different mechanisms underlying their respective establishment and maintenance. Arabidopsis thaliana has been used as a model organism to study DNA methylation in plants under various conditions. Despite many studies focusing on plant methylation dynamics during sexual reproduction, seed development, and germination, very little is known about the extent to which DNA methylation changes during growth and development. Here, I assessed changes in DNA methylation occurring during late A. thaliana development by performing whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) of rosette leaves at different stages of maturity, and comparing their DNA methylation profiles. I found global and feature-specific DNA methylation trends associated with plant and leaf age. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) across samples were under-represented in TEs, probably due to genomic constraints. Gene-flanking regions were DMR hotspots that might underlie epigenetic regulation of gene expression during plant development. Overall, these results reveal genome-wide DNA methylation dynamics during plant maturation, providing the first step towards a better understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to plant growth and development.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Research Project 2)
Supervisor name: Fontaine, M.C.
Degree programme: Ecology and Evolution
Thesis type: Master's Research Project 2
Language: English
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2018 13:45

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