Junior Research Scientist in quantitative genetics and genetic diversity of root development in white lupin


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The B&PMP unit (Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes) performs research that aims at elucidating fundamental mechanisms of hydro-mineral nutrition in plants together with their responses to environmental abiotic constraints, notably in the context of climate change.
The objective of such research is dual: (1) better understand the organisation and function of living organisms, (2) contribute to developing a durable agriculture, a use of natural resources that is scarce and respectful to the environment.
B&PMP hosts personnel from INRAE, CNRS, Montpellier University and SupAgro. Within the unit, the team “Development and Plasticity of the Root System” (3 permanent researchers, 1 lecturer and 1 research engineer) studies the development of cluster roots in white lupin using functional genomics approaches. These specialized root structures increase phosphate remobilization and uptake in lupin. The team has established white lupin as a model by developing tools: root genetic transformation, mutants, automated root phenotyping, TILLING population and de novo genome/pangenome sequences.
Recently, the team has identified master regulatory genes of cluster root formation, whose existence questions the conservation of the underlying regulatory mechanisms, especially amongst the Lupinus genus. Your research project will consist in leading quantitative genetics approaches and comparative genomics of root development in white lupin (cluster roots). This will be done in challenging conditions (from phosphate starvation to drought, elevated CO2 and alkaline stress). You will first develop association genetics (GWAS) using existing root phenotyping tools (PhénoROOT platform). You will use 300 white lupin accessions (wild, ancient cultivars and breeding lines) for which sequencing data are available (GBS). Secondly, you will set up an approach to phenotype root systems of various Lupinus species, some of which do not produce cluster roots or produce non-functional cluster roots. In parallel, you will perform a shallow sequencing of their genome.
This project will benefit from genetic resources hosted in INRAE Dijon (50 species) and elsewhere. Master genes controlling cluster root formation will be at the centre of this approach. The comparative studies should lead to the identification of variants that will be associated with various root phenotypes. This study will lead to a better understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms at the origin of cluster roots in the Lupinus genus and should provide a first step towards transfer of the capacity to form cluster roots in crops.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

You will need to demonstrate strong skills in quantitative genetics and/or comparative genomics as well as a taste for root phenotyping approaches
Skills in phenotypic data analysis, computer programming (R/Python…) et use of biostatistics tools are also required. The ability to run a bioinformatics server in interaction with the central services of the campus is a plus. You should be able to integrate and interact with a dynamic research team. You must demonstrate autonomy, ability to evolve towards research projects conception and grant writing.
International experience is recommended: laureates who have not yet had an international experience will have to go abroad at the end of the internship year.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2022-BAP-1
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 15
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