Analysing and modelling phenotypes for challenging environments

Plant breeding for challenging environments is a crucial challenge in the context of climate changes. Traits and alleles suited to fluctuating environments are complex (trait combination), difficult to define and differ depending on target cropping environments. Phenotyping facilities in field and controlled conditions allow addressing this challenge but still require considerable progress in methods. Combination of genetic and crop/ecophysiological modelling can help unlocking above difficulties and support the conception of suitable genotypes.

Training students in this field will generate qualified agronomists/ecophysiologists able to bring fresh skills to breeding and phenotyping programs / companies. To our knowledge, at least 10-20 scientists with this profile have been hired in seed companies in the last 3 years and agronomy institutions are increasingly looking for scientists with such a profile. The proponents offer specialized expertise and up-to-date facilities in plant phenotyping and modelling. They are involved in large programs aimed at designing diverse crops (annual, perennial) for challenging climates (temperate, tropical). Facilities and ongoing research activities are at the core of the training project.


  • Make students aware of new phenotyping capacities and ongoing developments; develop student’s ability to have a critical view on them
  • Explain and illustrate how the combination of phenotyping and modelling can help (i) dissecting GxE X Management (GxExM) interactions (based on a description of elemental processes and traits constituting crop performance), (ii) exploring  the consequences of the genetic variability of traits by in silico combining elemental traits / processes and accordingly (iii) predicting crop performance in multiple environments.

 Specific Learning Outcomes:

  • Ecophysiological/crop modelling for dissection of G X E X M interactions: develop first skills in ecophysiological modelling as a necessary complement of phenotyping
  • Phenotyping facilities: analyze potentiality, technological limits and meaning of measured traits

Organization and next session

The courses are organized in the form of a thematic school (opened also to young researchers).

The module (1 week, 30 hrs) is taught in English, It is organized by units LEPSE (team MAGE) and AGAP (teams AFEF and PAM). Delphine Luquet, Benoit Pallas, Francois Tardieu and Claude Welcker are contributors.

The next session will be held from 12 to 16 June 2017 in Montpellier, The participation is limited to 20 persons. Documents available for download: application form and program leaflet

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