The Epigenomics of Plants International Consortium (EPIC)

Welcome to the website for EPIC, an initiative supporting the efforts of the international research community studying epigenomics and epigenetics in plants. Funded by a research coordination network (RCN) grant from the United States National Sciences Foundation (NSF), our goal is to provide a forum for identifying key intellectual questions, potentially transformative methodologies, training needs, and infrastructure needs in order to accelerate progress and catalyze important new breakthroughs.

Eukaryotic chromosomes are not naked DNA molecules but DNA-protein complexes known as chromatin. Chromatin can be modified in many ways, including methylation of the DNA, chemical modification of the histones that wrap the DNA, use of alternative histone variants, or changes in the positions of histones and/or other chromatin binding proteins along the DNA. These modifications play important roles in the changing gene expression patterns that occur throughout development or in response to environmental signals and are the basis for heritable alternative gene expression states collectively known as epigenetic phenomena. The emerging field of epigenomics seeks to understand the chemical nature of epigenetic information, to map the occurrence of epigenetic chromatin modifications onto the genome and to understand the dynamics or stability of epigenetic modifications genomewide in the context of development, physiology and heredity.

Epigenetics and epigenomics are among the most exciting areas of modern biology due to their focus on fundamental questions of genetics and genome regulation that go beyond the determination of complete genome sequences. To facilitate an acceleration of progress in this research area, funding for the EPIC initiative will be used for workshops, conferences and online surveys aimed at determining priorities that can be communicated to the National Science Foundation in order to help set funding policies. The EPIC steering committee welcomes the input of all self-identified epigenetics researchers, whose registration at this website will result in their addition to an e-mail listserve to facilitate communication and participation in online surveys.

Please explore this site and join the EPIC initiative.

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The Epigenomics of Plants
International Consortium
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National Science Foundation