Skip to main content
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

An Epigenetic Alphabet of Crop Adaptation to Climate Change

Guarino, Francesco; Cicatelli, Angela; Castiglione, Stefano; Agius, Dolores R.; Orhun, Gul Ebru; Fragkostefanakis, Sotirios; Leclercq, Julie; Dobranszki, Judit; Kaiserli, Eirini; Lieberman-Lazarovich, Michal; Somera, Merike; Sarmiento, Cecilia; Vettori, Cristina; Paffetti, Donatella; Poma, Anna M. G.; Moschou, Panagiotis N.; Gasparovic, Mateo; Yousefi, Sanaz; Vergata, Chiara; Berger, Margot M. J.;
Show more authors


Crop adaptation to climate change is in a part attributed to epigenetic mechanisms which are related to response to abiotic and biotic stresses. Although recent studies increased our knowledge on the nature of these mechanisms, epigenetics remains under-investigated and still poorly understood in many, especially non-model, plants, Epigenetic modifications are traditionally divided into two main groups, DNA methylation and histone modifications that lead to chromatin remodeling and the regulation of genome functioning. In this review, we outline the most recent and interesting findings on crop epigenetic responses to the environmental cues that are most relevant to climate change. In addition, we discuss a speculative point of view, in which we try to decipher the "epigenetic alphabet" that underlies crop adaptation mechanisms to climate change. The understanding of these mechanisms will pave the way to new strategies to design and implement the next generation of cultivars with a broad range of tolerance/resistance to stresses as well as balanced agronomic traits, with a limited loss of (epi)genetic variability.


abiotic stresses; adaptation; climate change; epigenetics; environmental stresses; epigenetic code

Published in

Frontiers in Genetics
2022, volume: 13, article number: 818727

Authors' information

Guarino, Francesco
University of Salerno
Cicatelli, Angela
University of Salerno
Castiglione, Stefano
University of Salerno
Agius, Dolores R.
University of Malta
Orhun, Gul Ebru
Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University
Fragkostefanakis, Sotirios
Goethe University Frankfurt
Leclercq, Julie
Leclercq, Julie
Dobranszki, Judit
University of Debrecen
Kaiserli, Eirini
University of Glasgow
Lieberman-Lazarovich, Michal
Somera, Merike
Tallinn University of Technology
Sarmiento, Cecilia
Tallinn University of Technology
Vettori, Cristina
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Paffetti, Donatella
University of Florence
Poma, Anna M. G.
University of L'Aquila
Moschou, Panagiotis N. (Moschou, Panagiotis Nikolaou)
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
Moschou, Panagiotis N. (Moschou, Panagiotis Nikolaou)
University of Crete
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Gasparovic, Mateo
University of Zagreb
Show more authors

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)