From epigenetic inheritance to epigenetics: mechanisms in the evolution of differentiation

  • Michael Lachmann (Santa Fe Institute)
A3 02 (Seminar room)


In unicellulars, epigenetic inheritance systems, such as DNA methylation, transmit information across cell division. During the evolution of multicellularity, these systems were taken over to be used to control differentiation. In this transition, the boundary between transmission within the organism and transmission across generations was less well defined than it is now. I will show that this can have many interesting effects, one of which is the evolution of a germline. In plants the germline-soma distinction is not as strong as it is in animals, and therefore we might still be able to observe phenomena that arise when epigenetic information is transmitted across generations.