Epigenetic variation - polymorphisms at the level of DNA methylation or histone modifications - modulates chromatin accessibility, which can perturb transcriptional activity and spur phenotypic variation. Determining the origin, frequency spectrum, and consequences of epigenetic variants is key to understanding the role of this variation in generating stable phenotypic variation in plants. Here we review recent literature on DNA methylation variation in both model and crop plant species with a focus on the link between genotype, epigenotype, and transcription. We highlight population epigenomics studies that explore the relationship between epigenetic variants and genetic diversity. Moreover, we provide an overview of relevant studies that together advocate a minor, albeit significant role for epigenetic variation in directing specific transcriptional changes.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.