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EpiDiverse - Epigenetic Diversity in Ecology - is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network aimed at the study of epigenetic variation in wild plant species. This network joins academic groups from ecology, molecular (epi)genetics and bioinformatics with life science companies to explore epigenetic mechanisms and their adaptive relevance in natural plant populations.

The cross-disciplinary research program investigates how epigenetic mechanisms, in interaction with environments and transposable elements, contribute to variation that is relevant for the adaptive capacity of plants. By applying epigenomic research tools to a selection of different wild plants (including long-lived trees, annual and asexually reproducing species) we investigate how epigenetic mechanisms as well as their ecological relevance differs between plant species. Understanding the epigenetic contribution to adaptive capacity will help to predict species responses to global warming and can open new directions for sustainable agriculture and crop breeding.

The EpiDiverse consortium will train 15 Early Stage Researchers to become expert eco-epigeneticists, equipping them with the interdisciplinary skills - molecular, (epi)genomic, ecological and bioinformatics - to successfully tackle this new research area. EpiDiverse training will emphasize empirical and informatics skills to become fluent and creative in extracting knowledge from big ‘omics data in natural contexts.

EpiDiverse is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme and involves 12 partners from academia, non-profit organizations and industry located in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy and Austria.

EpiDiverse Projects:

RP01: De novo assembly and functional annotation of the genome of Populus nigra
PhD Supervisor(s): Michele Morgante, Emanuele De Paoli, Federica Cattonaro

RP02: The role of repetitive DNA and genome structural variation in mediating environment-epigenome interactions in Populus nigra
PhD Supervisor(s): Michele Morgante, Emanuele De Paoli, Federica Cattonaro

RP03: Inferring genomic information from bisulfite sequencing data populations
PhD Supervisor(s): David Langenberger, Peter Stadler

RP04: Integration of DNA methylation, genetic patterns, and functional annotation in non-model species
PhD Supervisor(s): Ivo Grosse, Carolin Delker, Peter Stadler

RP05: Epigenome-wide association studies
PhD Supervisor(s): Stefan Rensing & Noe Fernandez-Pozo

RP06: Natural DNA methylation variation in Fragaria vesca populations along climatological gradient
PhD Supervisor(s): Vítek Latzel, Zuzana Münzbergová

RP07: Natural DNA methylation variation in European Thlaspi arvensepopulations
PhD Supervisor(s): Oliver Bossdorf, Niek Scheepens

RP08: Natural DNA methylation variation in clonal and outcrossing European Populus nigra
PhD Supervisor(s): Lars Opgenoorth & Katrin Heer

RP09: Life history effects on epigenetic inheritance
Supervisor(s): Koen Verhoeven & Wim van der Putten

RP10: Uncovering the epigenetic component of plant-herbivore interactions
PhD Supervisor(s): Conchita Alonso & Mónica Medrano

RP11: Heritable stress-induced genetic and epigenetic changes in Strawberry
Supervisor(s): Etienne Bucher, Béatrice Denoyes

RP12: Epigenetic response to stress in natural variants of pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)
PhD Supervisor(s): Claude Becker, Ortrun Mittelsten Scheid

RP13: Epigenetic contribution to phenotypic plasticity in Populus nigra
Supervisor(s): Koen Verhoeven & Wim van der Putten

RP14: Transgenerational epigenetic effects: role of small RNAs
PhD Supervisor(s): Detlef Weigel & Anjar Wibowo

RP15: Investigating the plant mobilome responsiveness under stress
PhD Supervisor(s): Marie Mirouze & Alain Ghesquière

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