IRN Silene

CNRS International Research Network (IRN) on Silene

Coordinator: Pascal Touzet, univ. Lille

The Silene genus (around 870 species) has long been a widely used model for investigating numerous aspects of evolution and ecology, such as speciation, genome evolution, sex-chromosome evolution, ecological specialization, reproductive strategies, co-evolution between plant and pathogenic fungi, and plant-pollinator interactions. However, the full potential of the system is unavailable because of the lack of a full genome sequence and a lack of coordination among research groups producing genomic resources, including transcriptome data, linkage maps, and partial genome sequences from various taxa within the genus.

The CNRS IRN on Silene will facilitate communication and collaboration among eleven teams working on Silene, including teams belonging to three French labs associated with INEE CNRS institute. There are already one-on-one collaborations among teams but this IRN has the ambition to unite researchers on the scale of the whole community in order to generate new collaborations, launch coordinated projects at the genus level (e.g., whole genome sequencing), and share resources (DNA, seeds, sequences…).

The life of the network will rely on two main actions:

  • An annual meeting where updated results will be communicated.
  • Student exchanges among partners through mobility grants.


Even though the philosophy of the network is to benefit from complementary expertise and thus avoid compartmentalized groups, its scientific objectives can be described in several axes or actions that will also be reflected in the different sessions of the annual meetings:

– Speciation

– Host-pathogen co-evolution

– Mating systems

– Phylogenomics and genome evolution


Partners of the IRN

Evo-Eco-Paléo, UMR 8198, CNRS, Univ. Lille

Name of the PI and function: Pascal TOUZET, Professor


ESE, UMR 8079, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud

Name of the PI and function: Tatiana Giraud, CNRS Director, Professor at l’Ecole Polytechnique


LBBE, UMR 5558, CNRS, Univ. Lyon1

Name of the PI and position: Gabriel Marais, CNRS Director of Research


Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Name of the PI and position: Lynda F. Delph, Professor


 Institute of Biophysics, ASCR, Brno, Czech Republic

Name of the PI and position: Roman Hobza, Head of Department of Plant Developmental Genetics


Amherst College, Amherst, USA             

Name of the PI and position: Michael Hood, Professor of Biology


Uppsala University, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala, Sweden

Name of the PI and position: Sophie Karrenberg, Associate Professor


 University of Gothenburg, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Sweden

Name of the PI and position: Bengt Oxelman, Professor


Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

Name of the PI and position: Daniel Sloan, Associate Professor


Meise Botanic Garden, Meise, Belgium

Name of the PI and position: Fabienne Van Rossum, senior researcher


ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Name of the PI and position:  Alex Widmer, Professor