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The role of gene flow in rapid adaptation of fungal plant pathogen

ABG-79134 Stage master 2 / Ingénieur 6 mois 600€
Max Planck Institute
Plön Allemagne
  • Biologie
Genomics, genetics, evolution, adaptation, pathogens

Établissement recruteur

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology is focused on basic research to unravel general evolutionary processes, such as ecological adaptations, benefits of sexual reproduction or evolution of cooperation. The scope of the work includes ecological, organismic, molecular and theoretical approaches. The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is widely regarded as one of the foremost basic research organizations the world.


Pyrenophora teres is an important pathogen of barley. It can cause severe damages resulting in 10 to 40% of yield loss. It exists in two different forms: P. teres f. maculata and P. teres f. teres. These forms were historically shown to be different based on the symptoms they cause on the leaves: respectively, spot-like lesions and net-shaped ones. More recently, they have been identified as two distinct genetic populations. Since they can infect the same hosts and are found to co-exist on the same host, the strong population differentiation is unexpected. However, hybrids can be readily formed under laboratory conditions and rare hybrids have been identified in the field and experiments have shown that hybrids between the two forms can be as virulent as their parents on barley. This opens a wide array of questions. How do these populations stay distinct while co-existing? Can we find early-generation hybrids? Using whole genome sequences, are there loci where gene flow is present and others representing islands of divergence?

In order to address these questions we are conducting an analysis of population genomic data of P. teres. For this project we are offering a 6 months master project or research internship. During the project, you will work in a highly international setting at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. You will gain and develop skills in computational and evolutionary biology. These include, handling large datasets and analyzing genomic sequences. You will be offered free accommodation or a 600 € monthly stipend


We expect suitable candidates to have:

  • Good communication skills, both written and oral in English. This will be the main language used during the internship.

  • At least a Bachelor’s degree in evolutionary biology, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics or related fields. You must be completing or already have a Master’s degree in a similar field.

  • Previous knowledge of bioinformatics, genomics or population genetic.

  • The ability to work autonomously, be curious and display interest for the following topics: evolution, genomics, bioinformatics, host-pathogen coevolution, genome evolution etc.

Prise de fonction

Dès que possible

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