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Post-Doc: position in Quantitative and Population Genetics
Deadline for applications
Date of publication


Details on the type of contract
Postdoctoral contract
Duration of contract
12 months contract.

Salary could vary depending on experience. For the equivalent to a permanent researcher with 5 years postdoctoral experience: 3,700 € before taxes.


Name of unit of assignment
UMR0588 BioForA Biologie intégrée pour la valorisation de la diversité des Arbres et de la Forêt
Address of unit of assignment
INRA Orléans 2163 avenue de la Pomme de Pin CS 40001 Ardon 45075 ORLEANS CEDEX 2
Region of assignment
Central France-Loire Valley


Working environment

We are looking for a highly motivated, creative and enthusiastic young scientist to join our team “prediction and management of genome and population diversity in forest trees” within the BioForA research Unit at INRA Val de Loire (Orléans, France). Our ideal starting date is June 2018, but there is some flexibility.


Context and project description

Genome-wide evaluation (GWE) is a disruptive breeding methodology for many species. One of the key advantages is the accuracy with which the Mendelian sampling term can be assessed, with the consequence being that extra genetic gain can be produced without further increase in inbreeding. Last two decades have seen GWE research focused on factors affecting accuracy (estimation methods, data integration and design of training populations among others). Comparatively little has been done on the impacts that this extra accuracy might have on the genetic diversity at the whole genome scale. GWE can accelerate the sequence of selection cycles, with consequently faster accumulation of inbreeding / time. This happens whenever phenotypic evaluation determines the length of the breeding cycle and both genotyping and mating are available at much earlier stages, which is the case of many perennials like forest trees. Therefore, GWE presents some contrasting prospects for tree breeding, with earlier precision but faster drift, in a global context of climatic change that requires a rationalization in the use of available forest genetic resources over the long term.


Some solutions exists since the advent of pedigree-based evaluation, like optimum contribution selection and mate allocation, which use average coancestry constraints. However, information of inbreeding or diversity variation across genomic regions is neglected when constructing such constraints. Indeed, genomic regions might be affected differentially by boosted selection pressures, like those of GWE, and this be reflected into variation in drift and loss of diversity across markers.
The successful candidate will contribute to perfect a prototype under development in our team for selection and mate allocation that accounts for the across genome diversity in prospective offspring. The tool will be devised to improve coherently genetic gain and diversity management in the context of GWE, by setting specific weights depending on the genomic regions of interest. This tool will be assessed via computer simulations with in-house tools and through a proof-of-concept in black poplar, for which mating is a key element in the breeding. Real data and tools are already available. Work will be done in collaboration with a PhD student of our team, who has already developed the first GWE models in poplar and has monitored the first impacts of their use on genome-wide diversity. The goal of the postdoc is to produce a methodological paper, accompanied by the release of a tool, and to contribute to a case study paper.


Research environment

Our team has long research experience in genetics, genomics and biometry, as well as in conducting breeding programs for several of the main commercial tree species in France, including the model species of the project, black poplar. The successful candidate will interact with a multidisciplinary team of geneticist and physiologists, and will find readily local support on key issues like bio-informatics, if revisiting genomic data is eventually required, or high performance computing where the host has all required resources, locally and remotely.
The postdoc is funded by H2020 GenTree (http://www.gentree-h2020.eu/), and there will be opportunities to interact on the subject with the consortium scientific community.
We believe our team will make a great scientific environment for a young scientist. Moreover, Orléans is attractively situated by the beautiful Loire River, offering rich culinary, cultural, and outdoor possibilities.

Training and skills required

Required qualifications & skills

We are looking for candidates with a Ph.D in quantitative, population genetics or statistical genomics, with experience in genetic analysis and programming (C, FORTRAN, R …). Experience in developing and/or using simulation tools in quantitative/population genetics is a definite plus.


The candidate will be encouraged to contribute to the scope and reach of the project by own ideas and approaches. An eventual extension of the grant will be highly conditioned to the holder's input, to the level of fulfillment and holder's involvements. We expect from the successful candidate to be independent, creative, and with strong collaborative skills.


Application instructions

To apply, please send the following items (leopoldo.sanchez-rodriguez@inra.fr):

  •  Letter of motivation complemented by a text where you will briefly introduce one of your best published works;
  •  Curriculum Vitae;
  •  Publication list;
  •  Contact details of at least 2 referees.

Deadline for applications: 30 April 2018.
Decisions will be made available on 31 May 2018, the latest.