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Publication director :
Olivier Martin

Editorial manager :
Rozenn Le Guyader

Webmaster :
Thierry Balliau


Olivier MARTIN, Research Director, INRA

Deputy directors

Philippe BRABANT, Professor, AgroParisTech

Alain CHARCOSSET, Research Director, INRA
Catherine DAMERVAL, Research Director, CNRS
Christine DILLMANN, Professor, Université Paris-Sud

The "Quantitative Genetics an Evolution-Le Moulon" Unit has international recognition in Genetics, Genomics & Evolution of Complex traits (multifactorial genetics). Our projects favor integration across levels, from genome organization and gene/metabolic networks to populations and crop varieties. We have four main related objectives:

  • Increasing knowledge in fundamental multifactorial genetics, in the fields of QTL detection and identification, modeling quantitative variation, systems biology, dynamic management of genetic resources and evolution of complex traits.
  • Increasing knowledge on processes driving the organizational and functional evolution of plant genomes, in order to detect genomic features and mechanisms responsible for adaptation and phenotypic innovations.
  • Conceiving pioneer breeding methods, by combining genomics and exploitation of genetic resources, with special attention to traits related to growth, development and adaptation.
  • Providing genetic materials meeting requirement for sustainable agriculture.

We primarily work on crops (maize, wheat, Brassica), but model species are also used to address specific questions regarding recombination modeling, network functioning, experimental evolution or long term evolution (Arabidopsis, yeast, E. coli, early-diverging eudicots).

vue des expérimentations de blé fleur de nigelle fleurs de colza
fleur de maïs
We primarily work on crops (maize, wheat, Brassica), but model species are also used to address specific questions regarding recombination modeling, network functioning, experimental evolution or long term evolution (Arabidopsis, yeast, E. coli, early-diverging eudicots).

The GQE-Le Moulon Unit is supervised by INRA (UMR 320), University Paris-Sud, CNRS (UMR 8120)  and AgroParisTech, an agronomical University. There are 80 permanent and temporary people, including PhD students and postdocs. The GQE-Le Moulon Unit is a member of the institute Diversité, Ecologie et Evolution du Vivant (IDEEV)  and of the LabEx Biodiversité, Agroécosystèmes, Société, Climat (BASC).

Research teams

♦ Biology and Adaptation, Systems in Evolution (BASE) - Head: Judith Legrand, University Paris Sud

Modelling of quantitative variation, integrating the genetic, molecular, genomic, physiological (using the theory of metabolic control) and environmental levels.

♦ Recombination of Alleles in Meisosis: Determinism, Applications, Modelling - Head: Olivier Martin, INRA

Study of meiotic crossing over formation by theoretical and experimental approaches. Applications for plant breeding.

♦ Structure and Evolution of Chromosomes in Fungi  (SECF) - Head: Cécile Fairhead, University Paris Sud

Study of modes of reproduction in hemiascomycetes yeast, and importance in the evolutionary history of Candida glabrata. Population genomics, comparative and functional genomics. Adaptation of yeast to their environment.

♦ Dynamics of Genomes  and Adaptation of Cultivated Plants (DyGAP) - Head: Maud Tenaillon, CNRS

Characterization of nucleotidic, structural and epigenomic variations involved in the evolution and expression of genomes and their adaptations.

♦ Genetics, Epigenetics and Evolution of the Floral Morphogenesis (GE2MorF) - Head: Catherine Damerval, CNRS

Evolution of mechanisms underlying the morphological diversity of flowers with a focus on petals and the symmetry of the perianth. Role of perianth diversity for adaptation and speciation.

♦ Diversity, Evolution and Adaptation of Populations (DEAP) - Head: Jérôme Enjalbert, INRA

Based on the analysis of genetic and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the dynamics and adaptation of crop populations, strategies for on-farm management of diversity and plant breeding (evolutionary and/or participatory breeding) adapted to organic and low-input farming.

♦ Quantitative Genetics and Plant Breeding Methodology (GQMS) - Head: Alain Charcosset, INRA

Study of genetic bases of complex traits and mechanisms of response to selection, analysis of diversity in collections and experimental populations. Optimizing genetic resource management and selection process using the results of these studies and theoretical approaches.

>>>To see the teams

Proteomic platform and other facilities

Our objectives imply methodological developments in modeling, bioinformatics, system biology, population & quantitative genetics/genomics and proteomics. We have created a recognized platform and two facilities to implement technological approaches required for large-scale genetics and genomics projects, and we have access to an experimental field facility:

  • PAPPSO, the IBiSA-labelled proteomics platform of Paris South-West ( is the largest in Paris area. It includes 9 scientists and technicians. It is located on two close sites, one in the Plant Genetics Unit and the other in INRA at Jouy. It includes all equipment for proteomics based on protein separation (2D-gels, scanners, image analysis, robot for spot picking) and for proteomics based on peptide separation, i.e. digestion of complex mixtures of proteins followed by LC and MS/MS.
  • The bioinformatics and IT facility (ABI, Atelier Bioinformatique et Informatique) provides bioinformatics expertise and IT support. The staff includes 6 experts in system administration, software development or bio-analysis, and develops databases and softwares for genetics and genomics. ABI offers hardware resources, scientific programming and consulting for DNA, RNA and protein sequence analysis up to genome-wide scale. ABI works in tight collaboration with the Bioinformatics facilities of University Paris-Sud and INRA.
  • The molecular biology facility (ACEP, Atelier Cartographie, Expression et Polymorphisme) includes 6 engineers and technicians, and offers expertise, technological watch, training and support for the projects of the laboratory. It is oriented towards (i) genetic mapping and molecular markers, (ii) sequence polymorphism analysis and (iii) gene expression studies. This facility is organized to analyze large numbers of plant samples over short periods of time.
  • We have a privileged access to a local experimental field facility (92 ha) managed by INRA, which is equipped with all standard and specialized agricultural machinery. This facility is used for the in-field experiments of breeding and dynamic management of genetic resources, for displaying collections of genetic material and for educational experiments for the students of the Université Paris-Sud and AgroParisTech.