Mary Gehring

Mary Gehring

Associate Professor of Biology; Member, Whitehead Institute

Mary Gehring researches epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in plants.





Beverly Dobson



Assistant Phone


PhD 2005, University of California, Berkeley

Research Summary

We focus on plant epigenetics — that is, the heritable information that influences cellular function but is not encoded in the DNA sequence itself. We use genetic, genomic and molecular biology approaches to study the fidelity of epigenetic inheritance and the dynamics of epigenomic reprogramming during reproduction, primarily in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. More specifically, we investigate the interplay among repetitive sequences, DNA methylation and chromatin structure in these dynamic processes.


  • Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, 2013
  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, 2011

Recent Publications

  1. A Small RNA Pathway Mediates Allelic Dosage in Endosperm. Erdmann, RM, Satyaki, PRV, Klosinska, M, Gehring, M. 2017. Cell Rep 21, 3364-3372.
    doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.11.078PMID:29262317
  2. Stable transgenerational epigenetic inheritance requires a DNA methylation-sensing circuit. Williams, BP, Gehring, M. 2017. Nat Commun 8, 2124.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02219-3PMID:29242626
  3. Molecular movement in the Arabidopsis thaliana female gametophyte. Erdmann, RM, Hoffmann, A, Walter, HK, Wagenknecht, HA, Groß-Hardt, R, Gehring, M. 2017. Plant Reprod 30, 141-146.
    doi: 10.1007/s00497-017-0304-3PMID:28695277
  4. Proximal methylation features associated with nonrandom changes in gene body methylation. Picard, CL, Gehring, M. 2017. Genome Biol. 18, 73.
    doi: 10.1186/s13059-017-1206-2PMID:28446217
  5. DNA methylation and imprinting in plants: machinery and mechanisms. Satyaki, PR, Gehring, M. 2017. Crit. Rev. Biochem. Mol. Biol. 52, 163-175.
    doi: 10.1080/10409238.2017.1279119PMID:28118754
  6. Endosperm and Imprinting, Inextricably Linked. Gehring, M, Satyaki, PR. 2017. Plant Physiol. 173, 143-154.
    doi: 10.1104/pp.16.01353PMID:27895206
  7. Conserved imprinting associated with unique epigenetic signatures in the Arabidopsis genus. Klosinska, M, Picard, CL, Gehring, M. 2016. Nat Plants 2, 16145.
    doi: 10.1038/nplants.2016.145PMID:27643534
  8. Methylation-sensitive expression of a DNA demethylase gene serves as an epigenetic rheostat. Williams, BP, Pignatta, D, Henikoff, S, Gehring, M. 2015. PLoS Genet. 11, e1005142.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005142PMID:25826366
  9. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is not present in appreciable quantities in Arabidopsis DNA. Erdmann, RM, Souza, AL, Clish, CB, Gehring, M. 2014. G3 (Bethesda) 5, 1-8.
    doi: 10.1534/g3.114.014670PMID:25380728
  10. Natural epigenetic polymorphisms lead to intraspecific variation in Arabidopsis gene imprinting. Pignatta, D, Erdmann, RM, Scheer, E, Picard, CL, Bell, GW, Gehring, M. 2014. Elife 3, e03198.
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.03198PMID:24994762
More Publications


Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute