DNA methylation and epigenetic variation in Vaccinium plants

U. Sharma, A.U. Igamberdiev, S.C. Debnath
In vitro propagation is an advanced vegetative propagation technology employed to produce a large number of high-quality plants in a limited time and space. Year-round production of relatively uniform disease and pest-free plants could be obtained using in vitro technologies. With the increasing demand for micropropagated plants, different micropropagation methods using both semi-solid and liquid media have been implemented. However, maintaining genotypic and phenotypic integrity sometimes becomes an issue in the plants regenerated by tissue culture. Due to alterations in the tissue culture microenvironment, plant cells pass through additional stress, which stimulates genetic and epigenetic instability in the genome of regenerated plants, leading to variations in the clones called somaclonal variation. In commercial micropropagation, the exclusion of such variants is a challenge. Several methods have been developed to detect variants in micropropagation, which can be achieved using morphological, biochemical or molecular markers. On the other hand, epigenetic variation mainly occurs due to cytosine methylation, which involves the transfer of a methyl group onto the cytosine’s 5th Carbon position to form 5-methylcytosine resulting in the turning on or off the gene. Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing is a recent method utilized to identify the epigenetic variants with their relative position in the coding or non-coding regions in the genome. With the advancements in gene sequencing techniques and more information on the genome sequence being available, such variations can be utilized in plant improvement programs. In this review, tissue culture-induced variations in plants are highlighted, methods of detection of genetic and epigenetic variation are described, and the possible utilization of the tissue culture-induced variations in crop improvement programs are discussed, mainly focused on Vaccinium plants.
Sharma, U., Igamberdiev, A.U. and Debnath, S.C. (2023). DNA methylation and epigenetic variation in Vaccinium plants. Acta Hortic. 1381, 1-14
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1381.1
Vaccinium, in vitro propagation, genetic variation, epigenetic variation, molecular markers, DNA methylation

Acta Horticulturae