Tag Archives: INRA

Oak Genome (Quercus robur) Decoded

Research teams at INRA and the CEA have sequenced the genome of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). It is the first time a Quercus species a very common one in the northern hemisphere has been sequenced. This work provides insight into the adaptation mechanisms of trees to changes in their environment and will be helpful in predicting their reactions to climate change. The findings have been published in a presubmission paper in Molecular Ecology Resources (open access) before a final publication in the next few months.

Pedunculate oak (Aveyron, France) (c) Inra, A. Kremer

The emblematic pedunculate oak tree (Quercus robur) is part of the largest botanical section of the Quercus genus: the White Oak, of which there are 200 species, is found in Europe, Asia and America. A consortium of INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine, in partnership with Genoscope, the national sequencing centre of the CEA, has recently sequenced the genome of the pedunculate oak. Three years of work have allowed the deciphering of all genetic information carried by its 12 pairs of chromosomes. The consortium has characterised 50,000 genes and estimates that half of the 1.5 billion base pairs of the genome are composed of repeated elements. This is a first for a species of the Quercus genus, which is economically, environmentally, and even culturally important in many countries.

Sequencing the genome of the pedunculate oak has provided a unique gateway to analysing and understanding gene function in this iconic tree. Its genome can be used as a reference for other white oak species and for more distant species of the family Fagaceae (Chestnut or Beech). Internal regulation in very long-lived species exposed to strong annual climate variations and extreme events over the course of their existence can be studied. This research will also help identify which genes are involved in environmental adaptation and in symbiosis between tree roots and mycorrhizal fungi (such as truffle mycelium). Through this work it also possible to identify the genes behind the biosynthesis of wood extracts such as tannins and whisky lactone, which give flavour and taste to wines and spirits. In terms of evolution, decoding the oak genome will allow scientists to analyse local adaptation and speciation processes more accurately. These processes explain the diversity of trees, which have colonised very diverse habitats.
This work is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the biology, genetics and evolution of trees which will contribute greatly to future research on genomic structure and function in these perennial species. In addition to academic knowledge, this research creates opportunities in applied dealing with the many social factors affecting the evolution of forests.

Sharing results
In accordance with international agreements signed in Bermuda (1998), Fort Lauderdale (2003), and the recent Toronto Statement (2009), oak genome sequencing data has been made available to the scientific community free of charge (www.oakgenome.fr) prior to the publication in the next few months of the finalised scientific article by the consortium.

GENOAK Project
The sequencing, assembly and annotation of the oak genome is the result of the GENOAK Project (Sequencing of the oak genome and identification of genes that matter for forest tree adaptation), launched in October 2011 and co-financed by the French National Research Agency for four years. GENOAK brings together several research teams from INRA and the CEAs Genoscope centre.

Scientific contact: Christophe Plomion (33 (0)5 57 12 27 65) Biodiversity, Genes and Communities Joint Research Unit (INRA Université de Bordeaux)

Postdoctoral Position Announcement – INRA, France

Postdoctoral Position Announcement: Involvement of transcription factors in poplar root growth orchestration

The position is based at INRA-Nancy Center, France. The center undertakes fundamental research on forest and plantation tree species, with particular expertise in ecophysiology, molecular genetics, as well as genomics and genetic dissection of complex traits. Specific infrastructures are available to carry out fundamental research in forestry, including a GMO S2-greenhouse as well as facilities for microscopy and transcriptome analyses. The center offers a creative and stimulating international environment, and belongs to the Cluster of Excellence ARBRE at INRA- University of Lorraine.

Duties: Root system development is responsive to numerous factors of the rhizosphere, including interactions with fungi, nutrient availability and water availability. While root growth is established and maintained by a balance between cell division and cell elongation, recent work has highlighted the important role of stem cells in the organization of root tissues and in growth. The successful candidate will investigate the role of key transcription factors identified in stem cells in the response of poplar root growth to rhizophere signals: ectomycorrhizal symbionts or water stress. Involvement of hormonal signalling pathways in poplar root growth will be also investigated. The project will combine different complementary approaches such as poplar transgenic lines, molecular biology, kinematics and imaging tools.

Qualification: The applicant should be highly motivated and have a PhD degree in plant molecular biology, plant physiology or related field. The applicant should have good understanding of plant and cell biology. Knowledge in tree physiology would be an advantage. Proven skills in both oral and written scientific English are required. To be appointed as a postdoc, the applicant should have been awarded her/his PhD no more than three years ago at the time of application.

Applicants should submit a CV including a publication list and a short description of previous research, current research interests and other activities of relevance for the position. A copy of the PhD diploma, copies of no more than three publications and telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of up to three references should be joint. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled

Place of work: Champenoux near Nancy, France.
Form of employment: The position is initially limited to 12 months but extension is possible. Starting date: The position is available from February 2013.

If you need more information or if you are interested in this position, please contact by e-mail Valérie Legué (valerie.legue@univ-lorraine.fr) or Irène Hummel (hummel@nancy.inra.fr).