Education and Positions

Research Interests

Broadening the genetic diversity of the breeding programs by mining interesting allelic variation from the genetic resources is a key issue to speed up the genetic progress, to face the challenge of climate changes, and to decrease the use of fertilizers and pesticides. However, the exploitation of the genetic diversity in breeding programs is currently limited by the poor characterization of germplasms and by the difficulties to identify favorable alleles to improve agronomic traits of elite material. My research aims at overcoming these bottlenecks by better understanding (i) how the DNA polymorphisms contributed to agronomic trait variation, (ii) how the complex interplay between human/environmental selection and other evolutionary forces shaped the genetic diversity along the genome. Maize is a particularly good model to address these questions. Domesticated in Mexico around 9000 years ago, this tropical annual allogamous cereal with high degree of polymorphisms has been selected by humans to grown in various agro-climatic conditions and for various uses until becoming one of the largest cultivated cereal in the world playing an essential role in the food safety.

In this context, I am more particularly interested in:

  1. Deciphering the organization of the genetic diversity within the maize germplasm at the genome scale level and identifying interesting sources of genetic diversity for pre-breeding. My research are focusing on (i) the effect of the modern selection on the genetic diversity and linkage disequilibrium (transition from open pollinated varieties (landraces) to F1 hybrids…) by developing and implementing high-throughput sequencing and genotyping technologies and methods for studying landraces and inbred lines collection, (ii) the detection of genomic regions involved in the adaptation of maize to contrasted environments by integrating selective footprints detection with association studies.

  2. Identifying the allelic variation involved in the variation of agronomic traits and in adaptation to different stress within inbred lines collection representing large genetic diversity using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). My research are focusing on (i) the development and implementation of high-throughput genotyping technologies, methods, and bio-informatics tools for performing GWAS, (ii) the effect of different biological parameters on the power of GWAS for detecting Quantitative Trait Loci, (iii) the development of integrative approaches coupling eco-physiology, GWAS, and functional genomics for identifying allelic variation involved in genotype by environment interaction.

  3. Studying the contribution of the Copy Number Variations (CNV), e.g changes in gene content and order between inbred lines, to the genetic diversity, the variation of agronomic traits, the adaptation to environment and heterosis. To this end, I develop high-throughput genotyping approaches of these polymorphisms and appropriate statistical methods for genome-wide association studies.

Main current collaborations

Teaching / Training

Phd Student / Postdoctoral Fellowship / CDD

  • Clément Mabire (Phd Student 2016-2019)
  • Camille Clipet (2017-2019)
  • Sandra Negro (Drops and Amaizing Post-doctoral fellow : 2013-2017)
  • Mariangela Arca (Diversity Zea and Amaizing Post-doctocal fellow : 2012-2014).

Teaching and training:

  • Genome-Wide Association Mapping (Msc / Master degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics at AgroCampus Ouest, Master 2 at Université Paris Sud, Breeder’s training)
  • Linkage disequilibrium (Master degree GCDE & Doctoral School GGC).

Main responsibilities in recent projects