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    Opportunity: PhD Studentship, Grape Epigenetics (#2900) @ Plant and Food Research--Lincoln, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Submitted by Nadine Andrews; posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 (1 comment)


    Sauvignon Blanc represents New Zealand most widely planted wine varietal and contributes to the production of our most distinctive and internationally recognised wines. Like most commercial varietals, Sauvignon Blanc is clonally propagated. Novel clones arise spontaneously from these clonally propagated populations. There is much variation between different Sauvignon Blanc clones; clones differ in disease susceptibility, bunch architecture and resulting wine. This project aims to determine the underlying causes of this somaclonal variation.

    The accumulation of somatic mutations is thought to be responsible for some of the genetic variation in clonally propagated grape populations. There is, however, another potential source for variation between clones to be found in the epigenome. The term epigenome refers to inheritable traits that are associated with the DNA, such as DNA methylation or histone modifications. Advances in sequencing technology provides an unprecedented opportunities to sequence not only the genome of any species, but also to gain a deeper insight into the epigenome.


    Plant and Food Research, in collaboration with Lincoln University, is embarking on a project to elucidate the genome and epigenome of Sauvignon Blanc. The project will start by selecting and re-sequencing several Sauvignon Blanc clones that produce distinct wines. These data will be assembled using the reference Pinot Noir genome and subsequently screened for the genetic changes that underlie the visible somatic variation between these clones. In parallel the genome methylation state (methylome) of these clones will be assessed using whole genome bisulphite sequencing.

    In the course of this project a large dataset will be generated. The PhD candidate will be responsible for assembling and mining the grape epigenome in an attempt to identify clonal difference that can account for the unique character of these clones.

    The project will be conducted under the supervision of Dr Mark Fiers (Plant & Food Research).


    • The ideal candidate will have an interest in both bioinformatics and epigenomics. The candidate will handle and analyse the large dataset generated in this project.
    • Moreover, the suitable candidate must be able to make this data accessible and understandable to a multidisciplinary group of biologists and winegrowers both through implementing smart web interfaces and effective personal communication.
    • Candidates will have completed a postgraduate qualification in bioinformatics or a related area and demonstrate an interest in genome annotation and genome resequencing.


    This three year scholarship offers a stipend of $25,000 pa.


    To apply for this position please visit


    Applications close 26 November 2010.

    Expanded view | Monitor forum | Save place

    No information in the application website
    Submitted by Ong Ai Ling; posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010
    Dear Sir, I cant apply for this Phd studentship as the application has been closed but yet the deadline is in Nov 2010. Pls advice.
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