Spontaneous epimutations 

DNA methylation maintenance mistakes lead to 'somatic epimutations' during plant development. We want to understand how the accumulation of these epimutations generates somatic epigenetic heterogeity in plants, including in trees. In plants, a subset of somatic epimutations are inherited across sexual and clonal generations. We are interested in quantifying the stability / dynamics of these transgenerationally heritable epimutations, and document how they contribute to epigenetic diversity in natural populations.

Key paper: 

van der Graaf et al. (2015) Rate, spectrum and evolutionary dynamics of spontaneous epimutations. PNAS [Abstract]