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PhD position 'Finding genes for traits using systems genetics''

Genome editing promises to revolutionize plant breeding because it allows accurate and efficient modification of genes to improve crop traits. Both for large- …

meer dan 3 jaar geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Genome editing promises to revolutionize plant breeding because it allows accurate and efficient modification of genes to improve crop traits. Both for large-scale plant phenotyping and genotyping a range of high-throughput methods are becoming available, but there are no systematic methods to subsequently link the genes to traits, to find the targets for modification. A method potentially capable of this is Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis, which is used to identify genomic regions affecting a 'continuous' trait (like plant height, or seed size). However, two main issues prevent QTL analysis from being used systematically: first, its low resolution, with identified DNA regions that can span hundreds of genes; and second, its lack of power when dealing with complex traits affected by many genes with possibly small effects. In this project you will develop and apply systems genetics approaches to integrate QTL analysis with various kinds of molecular interaction data. By combining gene annotation and genetic variation with gene expression and phenotype measurements, you will identify molecular networks underlying plant traits. These will serve to identify key regulatory genes and predict the effects of naturally occurring genetic variants. The methods and predictions will be made available in the AraQTL workbench at www.bioinformatics.nl/AraQTL


We are looking for an ambitious, enthusiastic team player and result-driven scientist with:

  • an excellent academic record (MSc) in bioinformatics, computer science or a related area;
  • demonstrable skills in biological data analysis and software development;
  • experience with algorithm development and statistical analyses;
  • affinity with molecular biology and genetics;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English.


We offer a dynamic and driven research environment with a strong international profile and a growing number of young researchers; a state-of-the art computational infrastructure; close collaboration with other PhD students, researchers in the plant and animal sciences and relevant companies; and the possibility to further develop your scientific education with courses, training and conferences. There will be opportunities to be involved in teaching at workshops or courses. The position is full-time (38 hours/week), initially for 1 year after which a go/no-go decision will be taken on extension with another three years. The gross salary in the first year is € 2.222,- per month rising to € 2.840,- in the fourth year for a full-time appointment.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Harm Nijveen (harm.nijveen@wur.nl, tel. +31 317 484706) or prof. Dick de Ridder (dick.deridder@wur.nl, tel. +31 317 484 074).
For information on the selection procedure, please consult Ms. Dorien Wissink (dorien.wissink@wur.nl).

You can apply up to and including August 31, 2018.
Applications can be submitted online, at www.wageningenur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm;

please do not mail material directly to the persons above.