Context and objectives :
The societal demand together with the commitments made by French and European governments concerning tomorrow’s agriculture require significant changes in practices in order to maintain efficient production within an increasingly restrictive framework for reducing pesticides. This agroecological transition requires the development of action levers, the combined use of which should makes it possible to achieve a level of protection economically acceptable by producers. Varietal selection constitutes one important lever in this process. The exploration of genetic diversity linked to pest resistance/tolerance is a promising avenue. Tomato is an excellent plant model for the development of these approaches. It is a major horticultural crop for which many genetic and genomic resources are available, for the cultivated species but also for related wild species (Bedinger et al., 2011; Spooner et al., 2018).
The objective of the proposed thesis project will be to explore the genetic diversity in tomato and related wild species linked to resistance to the Lepidoptera Tuta absoluta (also called “tomato leaf miner”), an emerging invasive pest in Europe and considered to be particularly severe for this crop (Biondi et al 2018). Through a multidisciplinary approach, involving quantitative genetics, entomology, ecophysiology, bioinformatics and analysis of plant metabolism, the question will be to identify genetic markers linked to genes involved in the processes of attraction/repulsion and/or of toxicity to the pest and to look for the metabolites potentially at the origin of these processes.
This project will draw on the complementary skills of three research units whose work focuses on crop protection, in Nancy (LAE, plant ecophysiology & metabolism), Sophia-Antipolis (ISA, entomology) and Avignon (GAFL, quantitative genetics). It is part of a national collaborative project (CAPZEROPHYTO project, ANR) aimed at (i) characterizing new levers for stimulating crop immunity and (ii) proposing innovative technical itineraries based on the combined use of these levers. As such, the candidate will be required to interact with all consortium members and present its work during project progress meetings.

Skills :
The candidate must have a master’s degree or equivalent in a field combining at least one of the following disciplines : quantitative genetics, entomology, metabolomics, bioinformatics. Knowledge is desired in :
– Monitoring of life history traits and monitoring of populations in the context of plant/insect interaction
– GC-MS analysis of VOCs // LC-MS analysis of plant metabolites
– QTL detection
– Writing quality, ability to promote written and oral research work
– Autonomy and aptitude for teamwork.
The candidate must also be ready to be mobile because the thesis follows a busy and precise schedule in the three laboratories (and therefore the 3 partner cities). Accommodation facilities are possible in certain partner laboratories. Theoretical planning
Year 1 -1 Year 1 -2 Year 2 -1 Year 2 -2 Year 3 -1 Year 3 -2
Sophia Nancy Avignon Sophia Avignon (Nancy) Avignon (Nancy)

Application procedure :
The applicant must furnish as a PDF file:
– CV
– Cover letter
– Master notes bulletins
– Recommendation letter from a master’s internship
Please send your application file before June 20, 2021 to the three supervisors:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Cited reference :
Bedinger P. A., Chetelat R. T., McClure B., Moyle L. C., Rose J. K. C., Stack S. M., van der Knaap E., Baek Y. S., Lopez-Casado G., Covey P. A., Kumar A., Li W., Nunez R., Cruz-Garcia F. & Royer S. (2011) Interspecific reproductive barriers in the tomato clade: opportunities to decipher mechanisms of reproductive isolation Sexual Plant Reproduction volume 24, pages 171–187
Biondi A, Guedes RNC, Wan F-H, Desneux N. 2018. Ecology, worldwide spread, and management of the invasive south american tomato pinworm,tuta absoluta: past, present, and future. Annual Review of Entomology. 63(1):239–58
Spooner D. M., Peralta I. E., Knapp S. (2018). Comparison of AFLPs with other markers for phylogenetic inference in wild tomatoes [Solanum L. section Lycopersicon (Mill.) Wettst.]. Taxon doi.org/10.2307/25065301

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