Ecology & Evolution

Our climate is changing, and while most researchers in this field focus on how to stop and reverse the warming process, others are curious as to how humans and life on our planet will adapt. Plants and animals have a broad range of ways to deal with these emerging challenges and stresses (i.e. extreme weather patterns and excessive heat). Many species of plants have ways to deal with these pressures that are hard written into their genomes and animals have been observed changing their behaviors to cope with the warmer climate. But some scientists also believe the increasing heat can induce epigenetic modifications that can lead to changes in gene activity that help various organisms survive on this warming planet. A lot of the evidence this is happening is from lab animals exposed to artificially altered climates, but some wildlife like coral and wild guinea pigs have provided evidence that epigenetics and gene activity are being modified in response to climate change. If true, this could provide a critical strategy for helping preserve the biodiversity that is declining in response to climate change.

Understanding Epigenetics:
Ecology & Evolution
Check out these stories for more context on epigenetics and agriculture
Epigenetics and Evolution
Sedeer el-Showk | Scitable
Transgenerational epigenetics: Integrating soma to germline communication with gametic inheritance
April 20, 2017 | Abhay Sharma | Mechanisms of Ageing and Development
Epigenetics and the evolution of instincts
April 13, 2017 | Gene Robinson, Andrew Barron | Science
Convergence of DNA methylation and phosphorothioation epigenetics in bacterial genomes
April 12, 2017 | Chao Chen, Lianrong Wang | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
An epigenetic aging clock for dogs and wolves
April 05, 2017 | Michael Thompson | Aging
Zooming in on nuclear organization
March 22, 2017 | Katharine Wrighton | Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
HY5, a positive regulator of light signaling, negatively controls the unfolded protein response in Arabidopsis
February 28, 2017 | Chang Ho Kang, Ganesh Nawkar, Punyakishore Maibam | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
DNA methylation mediates neural processing after odor learning in the honeybee
February 28, 2017 | Stephanie Biergans | Scientific Reports
The epigenome and transcriptional dynamics of fruit ripening
February 23, 2017 | James Giovannoni | Annual Review of Plant Biology