Despite decades of dedicated research, the role of genomic imprinting in plants remains elusive. The aim of this PhD project is to address this question with a different angle compared to what has been done so far. By deciphering the action of imprinted genes in gene regulatory networks controlling endosperm development, the project will unravel the biological role and relevance of imprinted genes. In parallel, the project will study the implication of transposable elements during sexual reproduction, as these elements are tightly connected to genomic imprinting. Finally, the PhD student will screen genomes of natural populations to better understand the evolutionary role of genomic imprinting. The project will focus on wild outcrossing species of Arabidopsis, namely  A. arenosa and A. lyrata. The project will heavily rely on bioinformatic analyses and therefore, the successful candidate is expected to have experience in any of these analyses, and/or to have t he will to strongly develop in these areas.

Five relevant publications of the research group: 

Sammarco I, Pieters J, Salony S, Toman I, Zolotarov G, Lafon Placette C (2022). Epigenetic targeting of transposon relics: beating the dead horses of the genome? Epigenetics, doi: 10.1080/15592294.2021.2022066.

İltaş O, Svitok M, Cornille A, Schmickl R, Lafon Placette C (2021). Early evolution of reproductive isolation: a case of weak inbreeder/strong outbreeder leads to an intraspecific hybridization barrier in Arabidopsis lyrata. Evolution, doi: 10.1111/evo.14240.

Lafon Placette C (2020). Endosperm genome dosage, hybrid seed failure and parental imprinting: sexual selection as an alternative to parental conflict. Am J Bot 107(1): 1–3 (invited article).

Lafon Placette C, Hatorangan MR, Steige K, Cornille A, Lascoux M, Slotte T and Köhler C (2018). Paternally expressed genes likely underpin the endosperm balance number in Capsella genus. Nat Plants 4:352–357.

Lafon Placette C, Johannessen IM, Hornslien KS, Ali MF, Bjerkan KN, Bramsiepe J, Glöckle BM, Rebernig CA, Brysting AK, Grini PE and Köhler C (2017). Endosperm-based hybridization barriers explain the pattern of gene flow between Arabidopsis lyrata and Arabidopsis arenosa in Central Europe. PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1615123114.

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