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Besnard Guillaume



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Research topics

  • Phylogeography and domestication of the olive tree

During last two years, I focused on the olive phylogeography. The main objectives are to reconstruct the past and recent histories of the wild olive populations in order to give new insights on the origins of the cultivated Mediterranean olive forms. I’m also investigating the dynamic of wild olive populations in the saharan mountains, and in Australia (invaded range).

  • Multiple evolution of C4 photosythtic trait in Poales

I’m interested by the evolution of adaptive traits, and particularly multiple evolutions of the C4 photosynthesis in Poales. Using a phylogenetic approach, I study the evolution of C4 genes and the positive selection following their recruitment for the new function.

  • Diverisfication of the Malgasy flora

I’m investigating the evolutionary history of Madagascar lineages in order to elucidate the radiation of clades belonging to the Oleaceae and Poaceae families. Based on the diversification of C4 grass lineages, the origin of open habitats in Madagascar will be addressed.

Curriculum vitae

2008-2010. Associate researcher, Silwood Park Campus (Imperial College)

2003-2008. First assistant . Lausanne University (Depart. Ecol. & Evol.)

2001-2003. Post-doc. University of Nancy I (UMR INRA/UHP 1136)

2000-2001. Teaching Researcher. University of Saint-Denis (La Reunion Isl.)

1996-1999. PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology. INRA Montpellier

1994-1995. Master. University of Montpellier II

PUBLICATIONS (selection)

1. Besnard G, Hernandez P, Khadari B, Dorado G, Savolainen V (2011) Genomic profiling of plastid DNA variation in the Mediterranean olive tree. BMC Plant Biology, accepted with minor revisions.

2. Christin PA, Weinreich DM, Besnard G (2010) Causes and evolutionary significance of genetic convergence. Trends in Genetics 26 : 400-405.

3. Pairon M, Petitpierre B, Broennimann O, Guisan A, Campbell M, Baret P, Jacquemart AL, Besnard G (2010) Multiple introductions boosted genetic diversity in the invasive range of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina, Rosaceae). Annals of Botany (London) 105 : 891-903.

4. Besnard G, Muasya AM, Russier F, Roalson EH, Salamin N, Christin PA (2009) Phylogenomics of C4 photosynthesis in sedges (Cyperaceae) : multiple appearances and genetic convergence. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26 : 1909-1919.

5. Besnard G, Basic N, Christin PA, Savova-Bianchi D, Galland N (2009) Thlaspi caerulescens (Brassicaceae) population genetics in western Switzerland : Is the genetic structure affected by natural variation of soil heavy metal concentrations ? New Phytologist 181 : 974-984.

6. Besnard G, Rubio de Casas R, Christin PA, Vargas P (2009) Phylogenetics of Olea (Oleaceae) based on plastid and nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences : Tertiary climatic shifts and lineage differentiation times. Annals of Botany (London) 104 : 143-160.

7. Christin PA, Petitpierre B, Salamin N, Büchi L, Besnard G (2009) Evolution of C4-related phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in grasses, from genotype to phenotype. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26 : 357-365.

8. Christin PA, Salamin N, Kellogg EA, Vicentini A, Besnard G (2009) Integrating phylogeny into studies of C4 variation in the grasses. Plant Physiology 149 : 82-87.

9. Henry P, Le Lay G, Goudet J, Guisan A, Jahadová Š, Besnard G (2009) Reduced genetic diversity, increased isolation and multiple introductions of invasive Giant Hogweed in the western Swiss Alps. Molecular Ecology 18 : 2819-2831.

10. Christin PA, Salamin N, Muasya AM, Roalson EH, Russier F, Besnard G (2008) Evolutionary switch and genetic convergence on rbcL following the evolution of C4 photosynthesis. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25 : 2361-2368.

11. Christin PA, Besnard G, Samaritani E, Duvall MR, Hodkinson TR, Savolainen V, Salamin N (2008) Oligocene CO2 decline promoted C4 photosynthesis in grasses. Current Biology 18 : 37-43.

12. Besnard G, Rubio de Casas R, Vargas P (2007) Plastid and nuclear DNA polymorphism reveals historical processes of isolation and reticulation in the olive tree complex (Olea europaea L.). Journal of Biogeography 34 : 736-752.

13. Christin PA, Salamin N, Savolainen V, Duvall MR, Besnard G (2007) C4 photosynthesis evolved in grasses via parallel adaptive genetic changes. Current Biology 17 : 1241-1247.

14. Besnard G, Henry P, Wille L, Cooke D, Chapuis E (2007) On the origin of the invasive olives (Olea europaea L., Oleaceae). Heredity 99 : 608-619.

15. Besnard G, Christin PA, Baali-Cherif D, Bouguedoura N, Anthelme F (2007) Spatial genetic structure in the Laperrine’s olive (Olea europaea subsp. laperrinei), a long-living tree from central-Saharan mountains. Heredity 99 : 649-657.