Plant Scientists to Discuss Epigenetics at Iowa State, May 16-17

April 28th, 2002

AMES, Iowa — Six leading scientists in the area of epigenetic mechanisms in plants will present their research during the annual Plant Science Lecture Series at Iowa State University. The presentations will be May 16-17 in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

Epigenetics is the study of the processes by which genotype (an organism's genetic information) gives rise to phenotype (discernible properties of an organism determined by the interaction of the genotype with the environment). Epigenetic mechanisms are inherited, alternative states of gene expression that occur without a change in DNA sequence. Epigenetics was the subject of a special issue of Science magazine in August 2001.

Each year's program of the Plant Science Lecture Series is devoted to a topic that relates directly to plant breeding science, research and practice. The event is hosted and organized by Iowa State's agronomy department in conjunction with the horticulture, forestry, plant pathology and botany departments.

The program is free and open to the public. Lunches are included. Registration is requested and can be made on the Web at, or by contacting Mary Lents, agronomy department, (515) 294-3052;

The program schedule is:

Thursday, May 16

8:30 a.m.

"Transgene silencing by the host genome defense: Implications for the evolution of epigenetic control mechanisms in higher organisms" Marjori Matzke, department head, plant molecular genetics, Austrian Academy of Science

10:30 a.m.

"Paramutation: Long distance cis- and trans-interactions controlling gene expression"

Vicki Chandler, professor of plant sciences, University of Arizona

12 p.m.

Lunch, Campanile Room

1:30 p.m.

"Epigenetic controls in polyploid genomes: Locus-specific uniparental gene silencing"

Craig Pikaard, associate professor of plant biology, Washington University

3:30 p.m.

"DNA methylation: Epigenetic variation and inheritance"

Eric J. Richards, associate professor of biology, Washington University

Friday, May 17

8:30 a.m.

"Control and Function of DNA methylation: Lessons from fungi"

Erik Selker, professor of biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon

10:30 a.m.

"Epigenetic regulation in plants: Questions, clues, and vexing problems arising from analysis of the maize p1 gene"

Tom Peterson, associate professor of zoology and genetics, Iowa State University

12 p.m.

Lunch, Gold Room


Kendell Lamkey, Agronomy, (515) 294-7826

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778