Linking Ecology, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics in plant epigenetic research

EpiDiverse was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network from 1 September 2017 - 28 February 2022. EpiDiverse aimed at the study of epigenetic variation in wild plant species. The network joined 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 applied 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 trained 15 Early Stage Researchers to become expert plant epigeneticists, and equipped them with the interdisciplinary skills to successfully tackle this new research area. EpiDiverse training emphasized 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.