Genomic imprinting: insights from plants

Annu Rev Genet. 2013;47:187-208. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-110711-155527. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Imprinted gene expression--the biased expression of alleles dependent on their parent of origin--is an important type of epigenetic gene regulation in flowering plants and mammals. In plants, genes are imprinted primarily in the endosperm, the triploid placenta-like tissue that surrounds and nourishes the embryo during its development. Differential allelic expression is correlated with active DNA demethylation by DNA glycosylases and repressive targeting by the Polycomb group proteins. Imprinted gene expression is one consequence of a large-scale remodeling to the epigenome, primarily directed at transposable elements, that occurs in gametes and seeds. This remodeling could be important for maintaining the epigenome in the embryo as well as for establishing gene imprinting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Endosperm / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gametogenesis, Plant
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Seeds
  • Species Specificity
  • Zea mays / genetics


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Proteins