Muriel Gros Balthazard

Muriel Gros Balthazard

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2014

Receiving laboratory: UMR 1334 AGAP (Genetic Improvement and Adaptation of Mediterranean and Tropical Plants)

Country of origin : Switzerland




Mobility project

The aim of my project is to better understand the domestication of the olive tree in order to facilitate association mapping studies. I will first infer the demographic history with a Bayesian approach of this crop using genetic data (RNA-seq and microsatellites) and secondly I will detect the genes that were under selection during the domestication process.

Biography & research interests

Interested by both archaeology and biology, I’ve always tried to combine these two topics in my research projects. My research interest are the origins of perennial crops.

During my PhD, I worked at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement jointly with the Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d’Ecologie, both in Montpellier, France. The objective of my work was to understand the evolutionary history and biogeography of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.), a species of importance to human populations in hot arid regions of North Africa

and the Middle East. For that purpose, I used a complementary approach of seed morphometrics applied to both current and archaeological samples and genetics. I performed phylogenetic and population genetics analysis to decipher the origins of the date palm.

After my PhD, I joined the group of Daniel Wegmann at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. This group focused on the development of statistical and numerical methods in bioinformatics. The focus of my postdoc research was to infer the past history of the date palm by developing a novel Approximate Bayesian Compution / Full likelihood hybrid approach and applying it to a large genomic data set that we generated.

Selected publications

Zehdi, S., Cherif, E., Moussouni, S., Gros-Balthazard, M., Abbas, S., Ludeña, B., Chabrillange, N.,  Abdoulkader, S., Daher, A., Bouguedoura, N., Si-Dehbi, F., Terral, J.-F., Santoni, S., Ballardini, M., Mercuri, A., Bensalah, M., Kadri, K., Othmani, A., Littardi, C., Salhi-Hannachi, A., Pintaud, J.-C., Aberlenc-Bertossi, F. (in press.) Genetic structure of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in the Old World reveals a strong differentiation between eastern and western populations. Annals of Botany.

Aberlenc-Bertossi, F., Castillo, K., Dubreuil-Tranchant, C., Cherif, E., Ballardini, M., Abdoulkader, S., Gros-Balthazard, M., Chabrillange, N., Santoni, S., Mercuri, A., Pintaud, J.-C. (2014) In silico mining of microsatellites (SSR) in coding sequences of the date palm genome, characterization and transferability. Applications in Plant Sciences 2(1).

Gros-Balthazard, M. (2013) Hybridization in the genus Phoenix: a review. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture 25(11): 831-842.

Newton, C., Gros-Balthazard, M., Ivorra, S., Pintaud, J.-C., Terral J.-F. (2013) Phoenix dactylifera and P. sylvestris in North-Western India: A glimpse of their complex relationships. Palms 57(1):37-50. (co-premier auteur)

Terral, J.-F., Newton, C., Ivorra, S., Gros-Balthazard, M., Tito de Morais, C., Picq, S., Tengberg, M., Pintaud, J.-C. (2012) Insights into the historical biogeography of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) using geometric morphometry of modern and ancient seeds. Journal of Biogeography 39, 929-941.