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Last update: May 2021

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Drouault Justine

Drouault Justine
PhD student

Start of the thesis : 01.12.2021

Subject : Bypass and reconsider photosensitivity for maize adaptation to climate change


Abstract :

The project of my thesis is built around the concept of photoperiod sensitivity a cue for flowering transition in tropical maize (ssp. Zea Mays). This sensitivity to photoperiod, imped the infusion of tropical alleles into temperate maize germplasm due to a mal-adaptive syndrome delaying or even preventing flowering under long days condition. A decade of selection for early flowering is currently required to access the tropical genetic diversity. To facilitate alleles mining this dissertation proposes to bypass and reconsider photoperiod sensitivity. The first part of my work will consist in using phenomics to characterize the genotype-specific variation in response to photoperiod. The reaction norms obtained will serve to parametrize a crop growth model and simulate the re-introduction of a photoperiodic control over flowering time in temperate maize. As photoperiod is stable across years for a location, it presents an advantage over temperature and could be considered to stabilize the occurrence of flowering and in turn the yield. Finally, the last part of my work will test whether coupling occurs between photoperiod sensitivity and mechanisms of drought tolerance at physiological and genetic scales. Overall the aim of this dissertation is to demonstrate new applications in phenomics and modeling, define strategies for mining alleles from diverse germplasm, and explore a new concepts using photoperiod sensitivity for maize adaptation to climate change.

Management :

UMR LEPSE – INRAE :  Randall WISSER (thesis supervisor) and Boris PARENT (co-supervision)