The Bucher Lab

Model Plant and Crop Epigenetics

The BUNGEE ERC Project (2017-2022)

Climate change in becoming a major issue for plant breeding. Increased intensities and frequencies of drought and heat stresses and novel pathogens invading Europe represent a major challenge. Indeed, crop breeding is now advancing slower than climate change. This in an increasingly challenging context in Europe, where novel crop breeding methods that could greatly increase crop breeding speed, such as gene editing, cannot be applied. In order to ensure food security in Europe and elsewhere, rapid advances in crop breeding have to made now.

In this context, the BUNGEE ERC Consolidator project has two major objectives: First, to study the impact climate change-related stresses on plant genomes specifically focusing on transposable element (TE) activity. Here, we use a model plant in order to better understand how TEs may affect gene expression, development and stress response. The second main objective is to directly implement our findings in crop breeding programs. For that, we are now testing if controlled stress-induced TE mobilization can be used to breed climate-change ready crops. 

In this project we are testing the following crops: Rice, soybean and wheat

Here some images from the ongoing project:

by Etienne Bucher