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Leandro Quadrana

I am a newly recruited CNRS Research Scientist (Chargé de Recherches) in Biology at IBENS, specialized in Environmental Genomics and Epigenomics

I have a long-standing interest in molecular biology and genetics, which began during my undergraduate studies in Biology at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). Inspired by several undergraduate courses and groundbreaking papers assessing the genetic architecture of quantitative traits, I ultimately chose for my PhD a project that would enable me to combine molecular and quantitative genetics approaches. During my PhD, I identified the main locus responsible for heritable variation in vitamin E content in tomato fruits and showed that epigenetic variation at this locus is causal and responsible for the low heritability of this trait.

This work made me realize how the (epi)genomics era is radically advancing our capacity to investigate the molecular determinants of phenotypic variation and I decided to join the team of Vincent Colot at IBENS as a post-doc. Soon after I started my postdoc I realized that since heritable epigenetic variation is typically associated with the presence of transposable element (TE) sequences, whoch are largely neglected parts of the genomes, we urgently needed a better understanding of the contribution of TE mobilization to the generation of genetic diversity. Thus, I set out to investigate the extent of TE mobilization activity exploiting population genomics data available for the model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. During my research I was able to show that the A. thaliana so-called “mobilome” is particularly rich at the species level and that it varies extensively in composition and activity among individuals, in relation to environmental and genetic factors. In parallel, I studied the transgenerational dynamics of TE mobilization in a unique population of epigenetic recombinant inbred lines (epiRILs) developed in the team and I also explored the role of transcription factors in the regulation of TE activity.

Understanding the interplay between environmental cues and genome evolution

Since November 2017, I joined the team of Vincent Colot here at IBENS as a CNRS researcher (CR2) to study the contribution of TE mobilization to the generation of genetic and epigenetic diversity. In particular, I’m exploring the role played by TE mobilization in the recovery of relevant phenotypic variation following strong genetic bottlenecks, such as the ones experienced during species colonization and domestication. In addition, I’m very much interested in understanding how environmental changes can modulate the transposition activity of TEs and impact the evolution of genomes.

Selected publications
  • Quadrana L., Colot V. (2016) Plant Transgenerational Epigenetics. Annu. Rev. Genet. 50: 19.1-19.25.
  • Quadrana L., Silveira A. B., Mayhew G. F., Leblanc C., Martienssen R. A., Jeddeloh J. A., Colot V. (2016) The Arabidopsis thaliana mobilome and its impact at the species level. Elife 5: 1–25.
  • Quadrana L., Almeida J., Asís R., Duffy T., Dominguez P. G., Bermúdez L., Conti G., Silva J. V. C. da, Peralta I. E., Colot V., Ası R., Peralta I. E., Colot V., Conti G., Corre J. V, Asurmendi S., Fernie A. R., Rossi M., Carrari F. (2014 Natural occurring epialleles determine vitamin E accumulation in tomato fruits. Nat. Commun. 5: 4027.