Junior research scientist on the genetic deciphering of GxE interactions


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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 scientific project of the BioForA joint research unit focuses on the mobilization of the adaptive potential of forest genetic resources for sustainable wood production in an environmental context that evolves over time, space, and with silvicultural practices. Phenotypic plasticity and genotype-environment interactions (GxE) are addressed at several scales (genotype, population, and management unit) and on different forest species..
You will mobilize your skills in quantitative genetics and selection methodology i) by developing original methods to decipher GxE interactions for adaptation and production traits, but also ii) by drawing on the analytical and predictive modelling of the reaction norm (NoR), which proposes a reading of the phenotype according to relevant environmental gradients. The aim will be to acquire knowledge on the genetic determinisms underlying the variation of the NoR and the environmental factors at the origin of these plastic reactions. In terms of forest tree improvement, the aim is to propose phenotypic projections in variable environments beyond discrete measurements for a few environments. To do so, you will carry out a functional decomposition of the traits of interest by placing environmental fluctuations at the heart of the phenotype evaluation. In particular, you will be able to take advantage of the approaches used within the joint research unit on the formation of annual wood rings, which represent a NoR in response to environmental variations (climate, health status)..
To develop evaluation and selection methodologies, your research will focus on:
- genetic modelling of individual NoR in response to biotic and abiotic environmental changes, with simultaneous optimization of the choice of environmental variables and phenotypes playing a role in phenotypic plasticity;
- the integration of the above elements for the design of new GxE and environmental characterization experiments to help improve the revelation and characterization of plastic variation;
- the development of criteria for promoting GxE interactions in a multivariate and multi-environment selection. These interactions will explicitly include interactions between con- or interspecific individuals within the framework of a reasoned deployment in plantations of improved varieties and varietal assemblages.

Your research will focus on complex phenotypes of adaptation and production combining vegetative or floral phenology, temporal growth dynamics, tolerance and resistance to stress factors (abiotic, pests), and competition between individuals. It will be proposed that you work more particularly on the decomposition of tree radial growth thanks to the analysis of wood cores. The analysis of traits related to tree-ring plasticity and the work on selection methodology will benefit from the immediate proximity of researchers in dendroecology and genomic selection of the joint research unit.
Your work will be able to progressively expand to the deciphering of genomic, epigenomic, and functional determinants underlying the NoR by taking advantage of collaborations within the joint research unit and the various existing partnerships in France and abroad.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Specialisation in quantitative genetics would be desirable. You will use approaches in genomics, quantitative genetics, statistical modelling, and breeding methodology. Experience with perennial plant species and/or genomics would be appreciated.
Candidates should have a good command of English (both written and spoken), and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st 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.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2023-ECODIV-2
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 20
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