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PhD scholarship-Genome-based selection for the improvement of natural enemies in biocontrol, Spain


A PhD candidate who will work on the development of genome-based selection for the improvement of natural enemies in biocontrol within the EU-funded Marie Sk얂odowska-Curie Innovative Training Network BINGO (Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation Biocontrol). Intraspecific genetic variation in arthropods is often studied in the context of evolution and ecology. Such knowledge, can also be very usefully applied for selection of genotypes with optimal trait values to develop more effective biocontrol agents. For complex life-history or behavioural traits that lack easily recordable morphological phenotypes (i.e. longevity, development time, fecundity), the selection process can be laborious. Knowledge of the genomic regions underlying the traits can facilitate the screening and selection process. Genome-based selection (GS) methods use information from genome-wide DNA-markers to efficiently select for such complex traits. While they have been shown to hold great potential for plant and animal breeding, GS methods have not yet been applied for the improvement of natural enemies.
In this project, we will seek proof-of-principle for the use of genome-based selection for key life history and natural enemy traits in the model parasitoid Nasonia vitripennis. Genome-based selection techniques will be built that accommodate the haplodiploid nature of parasitoids and other natural enemies. We will generate protocols for insect natural enemies and apply these protocols for the genome-based selection of Nasonia lines for complex life-history traits.
The BINGO-ITN 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, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Portugal.  BINGO's approach is multidisciplinary, encompassing a broad range of scientific disciplines, including the application of state-of-the-art population genomics. The programme combines integrated training workshops and internship opportunities across the network, with career opportunities in academia, public or the private sectors.
You will work in close cooperation with other PhD students and researchers involved in related research projects of the BINGO-ITN project. For more information about the BINGO project and other PhD vacancies see

We ask

We seek a bright, highly motivated, and enthusiastic person able to work both as part of a team and independently. The ideal candidate shall have a master degree in evolutionary biology, quantitative genetics or animal breeding, with a good background in population genetics, bioinformatics, genomics or computational biology. Candidates from other programs, with a strong interest in quantitative genetics are also invited to apply. Experience with NGS technologies and genomic data analysis is a plus, but training will be provided. Insect experimental work will be part of the project. The language in the lab is English. A high standard of spoken and written English is required.
Eligibility criteria:
Candidates must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.
Eligible candidates may be of any nationality but must not, at the time of recruitment have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 last years immediately prior to the reference date.
BINGO aims to ensure equal opportunities, i.e. no job applicant or employee will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, gender or marital status. This policy will include disabled persons who have the necessary attributes for the research project they are interested in.

We offer

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 € 2125,- per month rising to € 2717,- in the fourth year for a full-time appointment. The salary will not be less than the amounts specified for early stage researchers in the MSCA Innovative Training Network grant rules.

More information

Wageningen University & Research Centre
Dr. Bart Pannebakker Wageningen UR Laboratory of Genetics,  tel:+31 317 484315, email:
or Dr. Piter Bijma, Wageningen UR Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, tel:+31 317 482731, email:

We are

The Laboratory of Genetics is part of Wageningen University and works closely together with other groups of Wageningen University. The group investigates causes and consequences of natural genetic variation within species. Because genetic variation plays an essential role in ecological and evolutionary processes, we ask ecologically and evolutionary motivated research questions. We use a wide array of model organisms, ranging from bacteria, fungi, plants and insects.
The Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre (ABGC) provides education and generates knowledge on the role and sustainable use of genetic variation in animals. ABGC contributes to our quality of life by generating knowledge to support the adequate supply of safe and healthy food of animal origin, and to enhance the health, welfare and productivity of animals. The group combines expertise in quantitative and molecular genetics related to the biological functioning of animals at population level. ABGC studies genetic variation in farm and companion animals, and examines opportunities to use naturally occurring genetic variation in selection schemes.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 1 April 2015

PhD scholarship-Genome-based selection for the improvement of natural enemies in biocontrol : PDF

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Posted on 2015-03-15 00:00:00

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