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
  • 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. 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
  2. Epigenetic dynamics during flowering plant reproduction: evidence for reprogramming? Gehring, M. 2019. New Phytol. 224, 91-96.
    doi: 10.1111/nph.15856PMID:31002174
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
More Publications


Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute