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Extent of epigenetic variation

Research Achievements

Extent of epigenetic variation

Matthew Schultz is utilizing next generation sequencing data to help elucidate the extent and effect of epigenetic variation in 200 naturally occurring strains of Arabidopsis thaliana. Although previous research has indicated the existence of epigenetic marks that are stable over many generations, also called epialleles, it has yet to be elucidated what the extent and phenotypic effect they have in the natural population. Examination of this phenomenon has required the development of analysis pipelines to map and associate epialleles with genomic and phenotypic features. Through better understanding these epialleles, it might one day be possible to use them to affect the phenotypes of plants without an alteration of their genotype. Throughout this research, Matthew has learned a great deal about how to develop tools for effectively using next generation sequencing data to answer fundamental questions in biology. This research was made possible through the IGERT Program.