22-month post-doctoral position – Measurement of the evolution of the genetic load during biological invasions using population genomics approaches
Work environment, missions and activities
Context: Biological invasions are a major component of global change. Yet, it is still not understood why some introduced populations become invasive and others do not. Demographic processes appear to be a key factor: after the introduction of small numbers of individuals into a new environment, levels of inbreeding and drift increase significantly, and deleterious mutations may become exposed to natural selection. This can have two opposite consequences: either fixation or purging of deleterious mutations. One hypothesis in invasion biology is that the populations that will actually become invasive are those that have purged some of their deleterious alleles.
Project objective: Using genomic data already available or being acquired by the host team, the post-doctoral fellow will be in charge of population genomics analyses aiming at quantitatively and qualitatively comparing the genetic load of native and invasive populations of a dozen insect species. The post-doctoral fellow will have the opportunity to propose and explore different methodologies and analyses to evaluate (i) the evolution of the genetic load during the invasion of each species, and (ii) the generality of the observed features thanks to the multispecies approach.
Available resources and expected analyses: The position is funded by the ANR GENLOADICS project. Sequencing of native and invasive populations (WGS pool-seq) of at least five species will already be available at the beginning of the post-doc. Five to seven additional species will be sequenced during the course of the contract. The post-doctoral fellow will have access to computing servers and clusters. The expected analyses are the following: (i) identification of polymorphism from WGS sequencing data of pools of individuals; (ii) polarization of identified alleles based on sequences of closely related species; (iii) identification and categorization of neutral and deleterious alleles; (iv) characterization of the demographic history of populations (invasion routes, bottlenecks severity), (v) quantification and comparison of the genetic load of native and invasive populations, and (vi) analysis of all 10 to 12 species studied in order to identify possible generic patterns that could be associated with the success of biological invasions.
Scientific environment: The post-doctoral fellow will be hosted for a period of 22 months at the Institut Sophia Agrobiotech (ISA), INRAE PACA, in Sophia-Antipolis, France. The work will be performed in the Biology of Introduced Populations (BPI) team, which includes about ten permanent staff (researchers, engineers, technicians) working in the fields of evolutionary biology, population genetics, ecology and bioinformatics.
Education required: PhD in population genetics/genomics or evolutionary biology.
Skills: The postdoc will have a strong background in bioinformatics and population genomics, programming (R, perl, python …) and writing skills. He/she should be independent, autonomous and willing to work in a group.
Additional experience appreciated: Experience in the field of invasion biology is a plus.
Presentation of INRAE
The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research institution bringing together a working community of 12,000 people, with 268 research units located in 18 sites throughout France. INRAE is one of the world’s leading institutions in agricultural and food sciences, plant and animal sciences. Its research aims to build solutions for multi-performing agriculture, quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.
Tagged as: Environmental Science, Life Sciences
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