Postdoctoral position OT-10332

Epigenetic priming of apple rootstocks and their effects on scion development during drought stress


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INRAE presentation

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

A 18-month postdoc position is available at IRHS, Angers, France, starting from January 2021. Research will be performed in the VALEMA team (team leader JM Celton) at the “Institut de recherche en Horticulture et Semences” ( in collaboration with other teams from the institute, and with the Pland & Food Research Institute (New Zealand).

The objective of the team is to investigate the potential use of epigenetics as a tool to improve perennial and clonally propagated plant production. Our plant model is apple (Malus domestica), which genome has been sequenced in 2017 (
Plants are continuously exposed to environmental perturbations. In the last few years, studies have revealed the importance of stress-induced chromatin changes, as well as modifications in DNA methylation levels, on gene transcription levels. This epigenetic-based plasticity could be a mechanism allowing clonal and perennial plant success. In this project, using apple as a clonally propagated and perennial model plant we propose:

(1) to investigate the capacity of the plant to adapt its transcriptomic and epigenomic response to drought stress
(2) to investigate the memorization of the stress in the form of epigenomic modification
(3) to study the transmission of the acquired epigenomic modifications to a new plant via clonal reproduction (grafting)
(4) to investigate the rootstock-scion interaction by evaluating the potential capacity of a hydric stress-primed rootstock to influence the development of a naive grafted scion

In relation with this these objectives, we are offering a 18-month postdoc position to perform epigenetic and transcriptomic analyses in order to identify key plant response factors involved in drought stress adaptation. You will:
1) implement a drought stress protocol on apple young seedlings and grafted plants
2) perform epigenetic (DMR identification) and transcriptomic (by RNA-seq) analyses
3) integrate ‘omic’ data in order to extract sensible biological responses
4) develop a methodological approach to assemble the genome of an apple rootstock

Training and skills


Highly motivated candidates with a PhD degree and having a strong background in bioanalyses (data mining, interpretation, data aggregation…) and bioinformatics (genome assembly, …) are encouraged to apply. Previous experience with analyzing epigenomic and transcriptomic data is desirable. The candidates should also have good communication skills evidenced by scientific publications. Ability to work in a team environment is required.
Important: The candidates should not have worked in France for more than 12 months during the past 3 years.

Technical skills: Master in bioanalyses and bioinformatics or a related field with relevant expertise in the project topics. Experience with R tools are required as well

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: trainingcareer 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.

How to apply

I send my CV and my motivation letter

Offer reference

  • Contract: Postdoctoral position
  • Duration: 18 month
  • Beginning: 01/01/2021
  • Remuneration: 2930 € gross/month
  • Reference: OT-10332
  • Dealine: 31/10/2020
Centre Pays de la Loire

UMR1345 IRHS Institut de Recherche en Horticulture et Semences 49071 BEAUCOUZE