Modeling evolutionary outcomes of competition for light in wheat composite populations

Modeling evolutionary outcomes of competition for light in wheat composite populations

By In Aiv Internship On January 8, 2019

Internship title: Modeling evolutionary outcomes of competition for light in wheat composite populations

Name: Génétique Quantive et Evolution – Le Moulon
Affiliation: INRA, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTech
Address: Ferme du Moulon, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette

LAB Director
Name: Olivier Martin
Phone number: 0169332330

Name: Emmanuelle Blanc
Phone number: 0169332346

Subject Keywords: Functional-Structural Plant Models (FSPM)
Quantitative Genetics
Wheat mixtures
Aerial architecture
Tools and methodologies: 1) Bibliography on the genetic determinism of the studied architectural traits (height, tillering, leaf architecture, etc…). This first step will form the basis for the simulation of the quantitative characters, in order to have realistic settings in the mapping of QTLs and the distribution of their effects.
2) Creation of an appropriate experimental design
3) Simulations with the existing coupled models and computation of indicators to summarize the outputs
4) Analysis of the relations between the indicators and the parameters of the simulations to identify the determinants of the performance and evolution of heterogeneous wheat populations
Summary of lab’s interests: The GQE-Le Moulon lab gather researchers on genetics and biology but covers a large variety of themes (such as agronomy, botanic, quantitative genetics, evolutionary genetics or population genetics) and also accounts for few mathematicians and physicists.
The researchers work mainly focuses on the study of the genetics basis of quantitative variations.
The DEAP (diversity, evolution and adaptation of the populations) team is internationally recognized for its participatory plant breeding program in collaboration with organic farmers organizations, and is currently also leading projects on wheat variety mixtures and species mixtures.
Project summary: The use of wheat mixtures by French farmers has increased sharply in recent years. This agricultural practice is of serious interest in the context of the agroecological transition, as it improves the resilience of the crop in low input systems. Nevertheless, very few studies have focused on reasoning the genetic composition of these mixtures in order to maximize complementarity and minimize competition between genotypes. In particular, the competition for light should be taken into account in mixtures with heterogeneous aerial architecture. Furthermore, as approximatively 50% of the wheat cultivated in France is resown from year to year, it is crucial to study the evolution of these mixtures over time. To tackle this issue, we have worked on the coupling of (i) a 3D ecophysiological model simulating the partitioning of light in wheat fields and the resulting plasticity of tillering and (ii) a population genetics model simulating the segregation of genetic markers controlling some key traits of the plants aerial architecture. Using this coupled model, the internship aims at exploring the evolution of wheat populations composed of contrasted genotypes (genotypes differing in some key traits of their aerial architecture). It will then be possible to analyze the impact of the differential in these architectural traits on the evolution of the population and of its performance.
Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: This project is based on the modeling of both ecophysiological and population genetics processes. It also involves the development of adapted statistical methodology to explore the multi-scaled parameters of the models and their complex outputs.
This project is funded by the interdisciplinary Initiative of the IDEX (Initiative of Excellence) Paris-Saclay.