Evolution, Ecologie et Paléontologie
( Evo-Eco-Paléo )

Unité Mixte de Recherche UMR 8198

Vincent Castric



Equipe Evo-Eco

Thème : Génome et Reproduction

Unité Evo-Eco-Paléo (EEP) - UMR 8198
CNRS / Université de Lille - Sciences et Technologies
Batiment SN2, bureau 207
59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq - FRANCE
Tel : 33 (0)3-20-33-63-03

Mail : Vincent.Castric@univ-lille1.fr


Research in my group lies at the interface of evolutionary and functional genomics using both theoretical and empirical approaches. We use a range of different methods to address evolutionary questions based on a detailed description of the molecular objects we manipulate.

Evolution of the molecular lock and key system encoding S-alleles in the Brassicaceae.

In evolutionary biology, self-incompatibility has been "the" textbook exemple of balancing selection. We study the multifarious signatures of natural selection on the genes controlling self-incompatibility specificity and their genomic environment. We are especially interested in understanding the kind of functional constraint that allows or prevents the emergence of new S-alleles in a context where S-allele specificities are controlled by two distinct genes, thereby introducing a strong co-evolutionary constraint. This project has received funding from an ERC grant under the "Consolidator" program (NOVEL). This project is a close collaboration with Sylvain Billiard and Xavier Vekemans.

Evolution and molecular control of dominance and recessivity.

In the Brassicaceae, self-incompatibility shows a very interesting dominance/recessivity phenomenon, whereby S-alleles are arranged along a fully transitive, mostly linear dominance hierarchy (called "sporophytic" self-incompatibility). Our previous work showed that this dominance is largely explained by a set of small non-coding RNAs produced by dominant S-alleles that have the capacity to target and epigenetically silence the more recessive S-alleles. We now want to learn more about how these unusual genetic elements achieve their function and how they evolved in conjonction  with the diversification history of S-alleles in the Brassicaceae. This project was funded by ANR BRASSIDOM and will now also be funded by ERC NOVEL. This project is also a close collaboration with Sylvain Billiard and Xavier Vekemans, as well as colleagues from RDP (Isabelle Fobis-Loisy, Thierry Gaude, ENS Lyon) and LGDP (JAcinthe Azevedo, Thierry Lagrange, CNRS Perpignan).

Evolution of miRNA regulatory networks.

MicroRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs that have emerged in the last decade as major players in the regulation of gene expression in the cell. While functional aspects of microRNAs have been the focus of intensive research, much less attention has been given to their evolutionary properties. In particular, the relative simplicity of their structure (size of ca. 21t and production from simple hairpin structures that are highly abundant in most plant genomes) provides opportunities for multiple mutational origins and great evolutionary flexibility. This project is funded by Région Nord Pas de Calais under the frame of the "Projet émergents" program (project MICRO2) and is done in close collaboration with Sylvain Legrand.

Evolution of transposable elements in outcrossing Arabidopsis species.

Transposable elements (TEs) are repeat elements found almost universally in eukaryotic genomes that can proliferate by high jacking a variety of cellular processes. The mating system is predicted to have a central influence on how they accumulate, and we take advantage of the closeely related genomes in the Arabidopsis genus to test these predcitions in natural popularions. This project is also done in close collaboration with Sylvain Legrand, as well as with Florian Maumus (INRA Versailles) and Mark Hanikenne (Université de Liège, Belgium).


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Bref CV :

Directeur de recherches CNRS.
Group leader « Evolutionary genomics of plant mating systems ».
CNRS UMR8198 – Unité Evolution, Ecologie, Paleontologie, Université Lille 1, France.
ResearcherID: A-2514-2009

2014 – 2015    Fulbright visiting scholar
Department of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley
2010 – 2016    Chargé de recherches (CR1)
                        Laboratoire Evolution, Ecologie & Paléontologie, Univ Lille 1, France
2004 – 2010    Assistant professor (“Maître de conferences”)
                        Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, Univ Lille 1, France
2003 – 2004    Post-doctoral fellow
                        Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, Univ Lille 1, France
2002 – 2003    Junior lecturer (Attaché Temporaire d’Enseignement et de Recherche)-
                        Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, Univ Lille 1, France

2002                PhD in Biology
                        Department of Biology, Laval University, Canada. Superviser: Louis Bernatchez
1998                Master in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology
                        Université Montpellier 2, France. Superviser: François Bonhomme
1997                Engineer degree in Agronomy
                        Institut National Agronomic Paris-Grignon, France (now AgroParisTech)

·       Associate Editor Molecular Ecology Resources 2004 – 2009
·       Reviewing Editor Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2006 – 2009
·       Referee for the 71 articles from 24 different journals including : PloS Genetics, Plant Cell, Evolution, Molecular Ecology, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Evolution, New Phytologist, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Applications, Frontiers in Plant Sciences, G3, Heredity, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Plant Ecology and Evolution, Plant Biology, Plant Ecology, PloS One.

.  NOVEL “Emergence of novel phenotypes in co-evolving biological systems: allelic diversification and dominance at the Self-incompatibility locus in Arabidopsis” ERC “consolidator” 2015-2020: 1,760,883€
.  BRASSIDOM “Evolutionary dynamics and genetic basis of dominance: sporophytic self-incompatibility in the Brassicaceae as a case study” ANR “Jeune Chercheur” 2011-2014: 235,000€
.  MICRO2 “Micro-évolution des micro-ARNs et du réseau de leurs cibles entre deux espèces végétales proches : Arabidopsis halleri et A. lyrata.” Regional Council Nord-Pas de Calais « Projet émergent » 2014-2015 : 90,000€
.  TRANS “Breeding system transitions in flowering plants and their genomic consequences” ANR “Blanc” 2011-2015 : 225,000€ (PI: S. Glémin, U. Montpellier)
.  LSD “Next generation sequencing of the genomic region flanking the S-locus in Arabidopsis.” Fulbright foundation 2014-2015: 34,595€
.  BQR Université Lille 1.  Une apparentée sauvage d’Arabidopsis thaliana à l’ère de la génomique personnalisée. 2010. 20,000€

Teaching positions
·       2004 – 2010    Assistant Professor – Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Université Lille 1, France. 192 hours of teaching/year.
·       2002 – 2003    Junior lecturer – Université Lille 1, France. 96 hours of teaching.

Invited lectures and classes
·       2003 Master course at university of Leuven.
·       2011 Master course at Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Münster.
·       2008-2010 Course at the doctoral school from Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle Paris.

PhD committee or jury
·       Jury member for 6 PhD students and 1 habilitation

42 invited and contributed presentations at scientific institutions and meetings since 1998
·       16 invited lectures at national and international institutions. 1 invited presentation at international meeting; 3 invited presentations at national meetings; 17 contributed presentations at international meetings; 6 contributed presentations at national meetings.

Publications représentatives :

  • Tsuchimatsu T, Goubet PM, Gallina S, Holl AC, Fobis-Loisy I, Bergès H, Marande W, Prat E, Meng D, Long Q, Platzer A, Nordborg M, Vekemans X, Castric V. Patterns of polymorphism at the self-incompatibility locus in 1,083 Arabidopsis thaliana genomes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 34(8):1878–1889. [pdf]. 
  • Novikova PY, Tsuchimatsu T, Simon S, Nizhynska V, Voronin V, Burns R, Fedorenko OM, Holm S, Säll T, Prat E, Marande W, Castric V,  Nordborg M. 2017. Genome sequencing reveals the origin of the allotetraploid Arabidopsis suecicaMolecular Biology and Evolution, 34(4), 957-968. [pdf]
  • Durand E, Méheust R, Soucaze M, Goubet PM, Gallina S, Poux C, Fobis-Loisy I, Gaude T, Sarrazin A, Figeac M, Prat E, Marande W, Bergès H, Vekemans X, Billiard S, Castric V. 2014. Dominance hierarchy arising from the evolution of a complex small RNA regulatory network. Science 346: 1200-1205. [pdf & Suppl. material]
  • Castric, V., Billiard, S. & Vekemans, X. (2014) Trait transitions in explicit ecological and genomic contexts: plant mating systems as case studiesin: Ecological Genomics - Ecology and the Evolution of Genes and Genomes (ed. by C.R. Landry and N. Aubin-Horth), pp. 7–36. Springer. [pdf]​
  • Goubet P, Bergès H, Bellec A, Prat E, Helmstetter N, Mangenot S, Gallina S, Holl AC, Fobis-Loisy I, Vekemans X, Castric V. 2012 Contrasted patterns of molecular evolution in dominant and recessive self-incompatibility haplotypes in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genetics 8, e1002495. [pdf]                                                          

  • Gervais CE, Castric V, Ressayre A, Billiard S. 2011 Origin and diversification dynamics of self-incompatibility haplotypes. Genetics 188, 625-636. [pdf]

  • Billiard S, Castric V. 2011 Evidence for Fisher's dominance theory: how many "special cases"? Trends in Genetics 27, 441-445. [pdf]    ​