Beyond the gene: epigenetic and cis-regulatory targets offer new breeding potential for the future

Crisp PA, Bhatnagar-Mathur P, Hundleby P, Godwin ID, Waterhouse PM and Hickey LT

Current Opinion in Biotechnology


  • Factors beyond the coding sequence of genes contribute to trait variation in crops.
  • Non-genic factors include epigenetic modifications and cis-regulatory elements.
  • DNA methylation variation is a key target for integrating epigenomics into breeding.
  • Proximal and distal cis-regulatory elements control quantitative variation.
  • We need improved tools to discover and harness non-genic variation.