NIOO-KNAW coordinates the EpiDiverse consortium (www.epidiverse.eu). EpiDiverse is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network aimed at the study of epigenetic variation in wild plant species. The network joins research groups from ecology, molecular (epi)genetics and bioinformatics to explore the genomic basis, molecular mechanisms and ecological significance of epigenetic variation in natural plant populations.
The cross-disciplinary research program applies epigenomic research tools to a selection of different wild plants (annual plants, asexually reproducing perennial plants, and long-lived trees) to investigate how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to natural variation, stress responses and long-term adaptation of plants. Understanding the epigenetic contribution to adaptive capacity will help to better understand species responses to global environmental change, and can open new directions for sustainable agriculture and crop breeding.
The EpiDiverse consortium trains 15 Early Stage Researchers to become expert plant epigeneticists, and equip them with the interdisciplinary skills to successfully tackle this new research area. EpiDiverse training will emphasize fluency in both empirical and informatics skills to become creative in working with big ‘omics data in natural contexts.
EpiDiverse is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme and involves 12 partners from academia, non-profit organizations and industry located in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy and Austria.