Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA Orleans, France)
Organisation and competences: The French National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA, is a Public scientific and technological institution (EPST) under the joint supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry for Research. Research conducted at INRA concerns agriculture, food, nutrition and food safety, environment and land management, with particular emphasis on sustainable development. Two different research units of INRA representing more than 50 researchers are contributing to ProCoGen. They are developing active research on breeding theory and are conducting conifer breeding programs since the early sixties.
The research Unit AGPF (UAGPF) carries out scientific research on genetics and physiology of different forest tree species and is deeply involved for more than 50 years in the management of several national breeding programmes (Scots pine, Larch, Douglas-fir, Poplar, Wild cherry, Ash). A team of 7 physiologists has wide expertise in gene expression studies on wood quality, lignin metabolism and embryogenesis and in conifer biotechnologies such as somatic embryogenesis and gene transfer via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. A team of 8 geneticists is deeply involved in evaluation and management of genetic diversity of natural genetic resources, genetic and genomic dissection of complex traits and development of short and long-term breeding strategies. Large facilities for long term field experimentation and original genetic resources are available: more than 1,200 ha of field experiments, 40 ha of nurseries, large greenhouses, representative collections of natural populations, original mapping pedigrees and breeding populations. In the framework of several EU funded projects (Larch, TreeBreedex, NovelTree), the research unit focused research activities on optimization of breeding strategies for forest tree species with the development of allele-based simulation tools and the integration of genomic and phenotypic information in selection merits. It has high publications records in top ranking international journals in Genetics and Physiology.
The Research Unit UMR BIOGECO (UMR BIOdiversity, GEnes & COmmunities) is a joint Research group of INRA and the University of Bordeaux. The unit comprises population, quantitative and evolutionary geneticists and ecologists (36 scientists). The main activities are to develop methods for assessing, monitoring, predicting and using diversity in the perspective of the sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems. During the past fifteen years, the research unit has concentrated research activities on temperate oaks, Mediterranean pines, and tropical trees. In particular, UMR BIOGECO has developed a breeding programme for maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) that has now reached its third generation, and has engaged itself in genomics for about 20 years. It has a broad range of facilities in molecular genetics, bioinformatics, and conducts field research in tree breeding, ecology monitoring, and biodiversity assessments. Large facilities for field experimentation are available. It has excellent publications records in top ranking international journals (Science, Nature, Genetics, PNAS, Evolution, Nature Biotechnology, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Conservation Biology, Journal of Molecular Evolution, Molecular Evolution).
Role: Leopoldo Sanchez will coordinate WP5. INRA scientists will be involved in all other WPs.
INRA will be leading WP5, and will be deeply involved in the Maritime pine case studies. INRA will also participate to WP2 and 3.
Staff members' profile:
Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez- is a tree geneticist with strong background in selection theory and quantitative genetics. He works on the development of several simulation tools aiming at optimizing breeding strategies. He co-manages the Douglas-fir breeding program, and he is deeply involved in two major EU funded projects concerning tree breeding (NOVELTREE, TREEBREEDEX).
Dr. Catherine Bastien- has strong expertise in quantitative genetics and is responsible of both Scots pine and poplar national breeding programmes. She is the French representative in the Executive Committee of the International Poplar Commission (FAO). She is coordinated the NOVELTREE EU FP7 funded project.
Dr. Marie-Anne Lelu-Walter- is a physiologist, expert in conifer biotechnologies (cryopreservation, somatic embryogenesis, genetic transformation). Over the past 20 years she has been studying somatic embryogenesis of Picea sp., Larix sp. and more recently Pinus sp. (Pinus pinaster, Pinus sylvestris). Her expertise contributed to international cooperation networks and people exchanges.
Dr. Christophe Plomion- is an expert in molecular genetics. In his research he uses functional genomics approaches to dissect complex traits of economical and ecological importance in maritime pine (drought tolerance and wood properties). He coordinated 2 EU funded projects within FP4 (INCO FORADAPT) and FP5 (GEMINI). He contributed to 100 publications in top ranking journal.
Dr. Gregoire Le Provost- is a molecular Biology. He works on the development of functional genomics approaches to dissect complex traits of economical and ecological importance in maritime pine (drought tolerance and wood properties).
The other key scientists involving in ProCoGen are Dr Annie Raffin, Dr Jean-Marc Frigerio, Dr Camille Lepoittevin, Dr Caroline Teyssier, Dr Hélène Muranty, Dr Luc Pâques.
Network of experts/projects:
UMR BIOGECO coordinated within FP4, FP5 international research projects supported by the EC related to population genetics, genomics and breeding forest trees. It has recently lead the European Network of excellence EVOLTREE (Evolution of trees as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity, FP6 NoE, http://www.evoltree.eu) and FoResTTraC (Forest ecosystem genomics Research: supporTing Transatlantic Cooperation, FP7- ENV-2009-1 ENV.2009.2.1.6.2 Forest ecosystem genomics, http://www.foresttrac.eu/) projects. UAGPF is leading the TREEBREEDEX (A working model network of tree improvement for competitive, multifunctional and sustainable European Forestry, FP6 Integrating activity) and NOVELTREE (Novel Tree Breeding Strategies, FP7 Large Collaborative project, http://www.noveltree.eu) projects.