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José Luis Blanco Pastor

José Luis Blanco Pastor

session, year:
2015 2nd


Receiving laboratory:
UR P3F, Lusignan and UMR CEFE, Montpellier

Country of origin:


Country of destination:


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Download Curriculum Vitae

Mobility project

Implementing the Landscape Genomics framework to drive the diversity of a European grassland species towards adaptation to forthcoming anthropogenic climate change

Grasslands represent the most widespread agricultural land-use over Europe. They are the basic source of feed for livestock and provide essential ecological services. Modern breeding has only taken advantage of a limited part of the potentially useful genetic variations existing in nature. This natural diversity still represents an essential genetic resource for breeding to improve forage production or adaptation to environmental constraints. Grassland species are indeed adapted to their local environment, but there is a risk that local populations will often lack sufficient variation to adapt rapid climatic shifts. Our project focuses on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), which is a major grass species naturally distributed over Europe and surroundings. My project is based on the use of the high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping data generated by the GrassLandscape consortium. I use the Landscape Genomics approach to identify markers of adaptive diversity in the perennial ryegrass genome. These information are critical to investigate how the species responded to past climate changes and to assess opportunities for a spontaneous adaptation to forthcoming anthropogenic climate change We are implementing the latest developments in Landscape Genomics to discover genetic variability involved in climatic adaptation using high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping in a wide collection of natural populations. In addition, we are validating adaptive alleles/genotypes and phenotypes with fitness data. On the basis of these results, we will assess potential changes in the spatial distribution of adaptive diversity caused by climatic disruptions and we will design a number of genetic pools expected to provide adaptation to future regional climatic conditions in Europe. It will help in setting up strategies to actively adapt this species to future climate change.

Biography & research interests

I finished an Msc in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville, Spain) and a PhD in Plant Evolution at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid (CSIC). I have completed three short stays in different countries (Sweden, Spain and USA). I have complemented my education with six postgraduate courses: three on phylogenetics (two of them held in Spain and one in Sweden) two on population genetics (held in France) and two on bioinformatics (held in Sweden). Shortly after my thesis dissertation I was awarded a Marie Curie IntraEuropean Fellowship. During my MC contract I was awarded the AgreenSkills+ Fellowship. Currently I work at INRA UR P3F unit in the project GrassLandscape (subproject GrassClim). In my last two projects, I make use of Landscape Genomics tools to detect adaptation to climate and use Phylogeographic and Population genomic methods. My expertise includes: reconstruction of phylogenies and hybridization, identification of signatures of selection in the genome, assessment of genetic structure, migration routes and demographic history in natural populations.


Selected publications

Eriksson, J.S, Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Sousa, F., Bertrand, Y.J.K. and Pfeil, B.E., 2016. Cryptic speciation, polyploidy and hybridisation in Medicago prostrata (Fabaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 107, 367-381.

Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Ornosa, C., Romero, D., Liberal, I., Gomez, J.M. & Vargas, P., 2015. Bees explain floral variation in a recent radiation of Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 28 (4): 851-863.

Blanco-Pastor, J.L., & Vargas, P., 2013. Autecological traits determined two evolutionary strategies in Mediterranean plants during the Quaternary: low differentiation and range expansion versus geographical speciation in Linaria. Molecular Ecology, 22, 5651-5668.

Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Fernndez-Mazuecos, M., & Vargas, P., 2013. Past and future demographic dynamics of alpine species: limited genetic consequences despite dramatic range contraction in a plant from the Spanish Sierra Nevada. Molecular Ecology, 22, 4177-4195.

Awards & patents

Extraordinary PhD Thesis Award, in its call 2013-2014. Pablo de Olavide University. Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Engineering.

Talks in annual meetings


Ecological selection, perennial ryegrass, next-generation sequencing, genome scan, spatial statistics, regression models, genetic resources., niche modelling, signature of selection