Understanding 'non-genetic' inheritance: Insights from molecular-evolutionary crosstalk

Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser*, Sonia E. Sultan, Lisa N. S. Shama, Helen Spence-Jones, Stefano Tiso, Claudia Isabelle Keller Valsecchi, Franz J. Weissing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Understanding the evolutionary and ecological roles of 'non-genetic' inheritance (NGI) is daunting due to the complexity and diversity of epigenetic mechanisms. We draw on insights from molecular and evolutionary biology perspectives to identify three general features of 'non-genetic' inheritance systems: (i) they are functionally interdependent with, rather than separate from, DNA sequence; (ii) precise mechanisms vary phylogenetically and operationally; and (iii) epigenetic elements are probabilistic, interactive regulatory factors and not deterministic 'epialleles' with defined genomic locations and effects. We discuss each of these features and offer recommendations for future empirical and theoretical research that implements a unifying inherited gene regulation (IGR) approach to studies of 'non-genetic' inheritance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1089
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2020

Keywords

  • TRANSGENERATIONAL EPIGENETIC INHERITANCE
  • TO-ZYGOTIC TRANSITION
  • DNA-METHYLATION
  • SMALL RNAS
  • MECHANISMS
  • PLASTICITY
  • PATTERNS
  • CLIMATE
  • GENES
  • MODEL

Cite this