Transgenerational response to endocrine disruptor ingestion: phenotypic, genetic and epigenetic analyses in quail

Job Type: 
PhD Thesis
  • Environmental exposures, for example to chemicals, can have a long-term influence on
    animal, vegetal and human phenotypes, resulting in repercussions on their health, sometimes
    for several generations. "Epigenetic inheritance" is subject to intense debate in the scientific
    community. The aim of this thesis project is to study how changes in the embryonic
    environment influence phenotypes for multiple generations in quail. The treatment chosen is
    the ingestion of a natural endocrine disruptor, genistein, by mothers, during the egg
    production phase. The project aims to characterize the effects of such treatment on several
    phenotypes, to evaluate the persistence of the observed effect over generations, to better
    estimate the respective parts of genetics and epigenetics in the phenotypic variability, and to
    contribute to the improvement of phenotype prediction models by taking into account
    epigenetic marks. The last part of the thesis aspires to improve the knowledge of the
    molecular mechanisms underlying transgenerational epigenetic phenomena, by
    characterizing the non-genetic marks transmitted through sperm.

  • The PhD candidate must hold a master’s degree in genetics, statistics, bioinformatics or any
    background relevant for this project. The candidate should have a particular interest in
    epigenetic and genetic phenomenon ruling phenotypic variability. The subject is intended for
    students interested in studying high-throughput genome-wide data. The thesis project will
    require the use of scripts and bioinformatic (use of linux and HPC) and statistical programs
    (such as R and python), a minimum of interest for this type of analysis is essential.
    The PhD candidate will be responsible for:
    - data processing
    - phenotype, genotype and epigenotype analysis
    - conducting GWAS, EWAS and methQTL analyses
    - communication of results in congress and through scientific publications in peer review
    Ability to read and write scientific publication and communicate orally in international
    congresses and with partners, in English, is a requirement. There is no need to speak French
    to apply for this position, however the minimum of a scholar level, or willingness to learn, can
    be helpful in everyday life.

  • The PhD project will be carried out within the team GenEpi (Genetics and Epigenetics), in the
    unit GenPhySE (Genetics Physiology and Breeding Systems) at INRAE-Occitanie, in Castanet-
    Tolosan, close to Toulouse in the South-Ouest of France. The PhD candidate will join a team
    composed of about 20 people including 7 senior researchers, 4 technicians, 3 post-doctorates,
    2 PhD candidates and several interns and temporary staff. The GenEpi team is one of 10 in the
    unit and interactions with other teams is encouraged. In addition, added support is available
    with the bioinformatic platform Genotoul and Sigenae.
    The PhD candidate will join the GEroNIMO project, funded by the H2020 European research
    programme, and the young researchers community composed of PhDs, postdoctoral
    researchers and interns. In this context, interactions with partners abroad, such as the
    University of Uppsala, Wageningen University and Research, and in France with INRAE GABI
    (Jouy en Josas), PEGASE (Rennes), PEAT (Tours), is expected. A research period abroad at our
    partners in Wageningen or Uppsala, for 3 months, can be envisioned.

  • For further information please contact Frédérique Pitel ( and/or
    Sonia Eynard (

  • 12/05/2023


Frédérique Pitel

Frédérique dot Pitel at inra dot fr