Evolution of epigenetic mechanisms

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Guest Editor
Dr. Janine Deakin
Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2601, Australia
Email: Janine.Deakin@canberra.edu.au

Manuscript Topics
It is now widely appreciated that changes to the epigenetic regulation of genes mediate the interaction between environment and phenotype, making epigenetics a rapidly expanding field. Much of what we currently understand about epigenetics has been learnt from studies on humans and mice but with the availability of genome sequences for a diverse array of eukaryotic organisms and new epigenomic techniques, we are now in a position to rapidly gain insight into the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms.

An exciting aspect of epigenetics is that it allows for rapid, heritable adaptation to environmental cues which contrasts the more slowly evolving changes in DNA sequence required for adaptation. However, we have a limited understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in an evolutionary context. Epigenetic mechanisms regulate gene expression by changing the accessibility of DNA to the transcription machinery. How conserved are epigenetic mechanisms? Just as comparative genomics has provided important insight into gene and genome evolution, the emerging field of comparative epigenetics will afford valuable insight into the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms involved in gene regulation.

This issue invites articles that address the evolutionary aspects of epigenetic mechanisms, including the evolution of DNA methylation and histone modifications in plants and animals, the role of epigenetics in development, the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to adaptation to a changing environment, and the evolution of epigenetic phenomena such as X chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting. In all cases, a particular emphasis will be placed on information gained from the study of non-model organisms.

Paper submission
All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed before their acceptance for publication.
The deadline for manuscript submission is 30 April 2015.

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