Transgenerational defense induction and epigenetic inheritance in plants

Liza M. Holeski, Georg Jander, Anurag A. Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

287 Scopus citations


Rapidly accumulating evidence shows that herbivore and pathogen attack of plants can generate particular defense phenotypes across generations. What was once thought to be an oddity of plant defense induction now appears to be a taxonomically widespread phenomenon with strong potential to impact the ecology and evolution of species interactions. DNA methylation, histone modifications, and small RNAs each contribute to transgenerational defense initiation; examples in several species demonstrate that this induction can last for multiple generations. Priming of the offspring generation for more rapid induction following subsequent attack has also been reported. The extent to which transgenerational induction is predictable, detectable in nature, and subject to manipulation will determine the ability of researchers to decipher its role in plant-herbivore and plant-pathogen interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-626
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Transgenerational defense induction and epigenetic inheritance in plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this