Small RNAs reflect grandparental environments in apomictic dandelion

Lionel Morgado, Veronica Preite, Carla Oplaat, Sarit Anava, Julie Ferreira De Carvalho, Oded Rechavi, Frank Johannes, Koen J.F. Verhoeven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Plants can show long-term effects of environmental stresses and in some cases a stress "memory" has been reported to persist across generations, potentially mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. However, few documented cases exist of transgenerational effects that persist formultiple generations and it remains unclear if or how epigeneticmechanisms are involved. Here, we show that the composition of small regulatory RNAs in apomictic dandelion lineages reveals a footprint of drought stress and salicylic acid treatment experienced two generations ago. Overall proportions of 21 and 24 nt RNA pools were shifted due to grandparental treatments. While individual genes did not show strong up-or downregulation of associated sRNAs, the subset of genes that showed the strongest shifts in sRNA abundance was significantly enriched for several GO terms including stress-specific functions. This suggests that a stress-induced signal was transmitted across multiple unexposed generations leading to persistent changes in epigenetic gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2040
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Drought stress
  • Epigenetic inheritance
  • Salicylic acid
  • Small RNA
  • Taraxacumofficinale
  • Transgenerational effects


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