Mary Gehring

Mary Gehring

Associate Professor of Biology; Member, Whitehead Institute; Graduate Officer

Mary Gehring researches epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in plants.





Beverly Dobson



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 2005, University of California, Berkeley
  • BA, 1998, Biology, Williams College

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. Editorial overview: Multifaceted dynamics and countless shades of green chromatin. Gehring, M, Roudier, F. 2021. Curr Opin Plant Biol 61, 102079.
    doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2021.102079PMID:34158157
  2. Transcriptional and imprinting complexity in Arabidopsis seeds at single-nucleus resolution. Picard, CL, Povilus, RA, Williams, BP, Gehring, M. 2021. Nat Plants 7, 730-738.
    doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00922-0PMID:34059805
  3. Principles of Epigenetic Homeostasis Shared Between Flowering Plants and Mammals. Williams, BP, Gehring, M. 2020. Trends Genet 36, 751-763.
    doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2020.06.019PMID:32711945
  4. Water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) genome reveals variable genomic signatures of ancient vascular cambium losses. Povilus, RA, DaCosta, JM, Grassa, C, Satyaki, PRV, Moeglein, M, Jaenisch, J, Xi, Z, Mathews, S, Gehring, M, Davis, CC et al.. 2020. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117, 8649-8656.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1922873117PMID:32234787
  5. Identification and Comparison of Imprinted Genes Across Plant Species. Picard, CL, Gehring, M. 2020. Methods Mol Biol 2093, 173-201.
    doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0179-2_13PMID:32088897
  6. Paternally Acting Canonical RNA-Directed DNA Methylation Pathway Genes Sensitize Arabidopsis Endosperm to Paternal Genome Dosage. Satyaki, PRV, Gehring, M. 2019. Plant Cell 31, 1563-1578.
    doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00047PMID:31064867
  7. Epigenetic dynamics during flowering plant reproduction: evidence for reprogramming? Gehring, M. 2019. New Phytol 224, 91-96.
    doi: 10.1111/nph.15856PMID:31002174
  8. Low-input chromatin profiling in Arabidopsis endosperm using CUT&RUN. Zheng, XY, Gehring, M. 2019. Plant Reprod 32, 63-75.
    doi: 10.1007/s00497-018-00358-1PMID:30719569
  9. Ten things you should know about transposable elements. Bourque, G, Burns, KH, Gehring, M, Gorbunova, V, Seluanov, A, Hammell, M, Imbeault, M, Izsvák, Z, Levin, HL, Macfarlan, TS et al.. 2018. Genome Biol 19, 199.
    doi: 10.1186/s13059-018-1577-zPMID:30454069
  10. A variably imprinted epiallele impacts seed development. Pignatta, D, Novitzky, K, Satyaki, PRV, Gehring, M. 2018. PLoS Genet 14, e1007469.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007469PMID:30395602
More Publications




Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute