Genomics of adaptive divergence in Fungi, (GenomeFun)
Evolutionary, Population and Environmental Biology (LS8)
Ecologie, systématique et évolution (ESE)
Institute of Ecology and Environment
“The ERC has allowed my projects to progress in a way I wouldn’t have dreamed of.”
With my ERC grant, I was able to order several thousand euros worth of cheese on the Internet! And I asked colleagues to bring me blue cheeses from around the world… I study the biology of fungi of the Penicillium group, a key element in the production of cheeses like brie, camembert and roquefort. We discovered that the way these fungi have been used to make cheese has altered their genetic structure: they have gradually acquired shared genetic sequences. A horizontal transfer has occurred between the genomes of different fungi due to their shared cultivation methods. These adaptive processes had already been observed in bacteria, but rarely in eukaryotes (fungi, plants and animals). This result had important repercussions in the scientific community, and also caused a stir in the media! With the ERC, I have to deal with increased administrative pressure. That’s the trade-off for a much greater capacity for action! I’ve enjoyed immediate access to all the new sequencing technologies, which has allowed my projects to progress in a way I wouldn’t have dreamed of. The ERC has also given me valuable institutional recognition, as I received the CNRS Silver Medal in 2015.