Flower to fruit - Palm Trees

Overall objectives

Our group aims at understanding the key processes governing flower and fruit development, such as floral induction and flower morphogenesis, sex determination, fruit maturation and abscission. Indeed, these key stages of reproductive development are of paramount importance for the control of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of fruit production in a context of environmental changes.


Plant models

The Palm family (Arecaceae) is a major contributor to the biodiversity of tropical and Mediterranean regions. Several species are cultivated in distinct agro-ecosystems and play a central role in the maintenance of food security and in the fight against poverty in developing countries from the South.

Palms also form highly diversified set of over two thousand species, displaying a wide variety of morphological and physiological characters of flower and fruit development. By contrast with most Angiosperms, within the Palm family reproductive systems are based on unisexual flowers, which make them a good model in the study of sex determination.

Our research work mostly revolves around two palm crops which fruit productions have a major agro-economical impact: i) the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), which is grown in humid tropical areas and is the first world source of vegetable oils;  ii) the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), which represents a major food crop in the oasis ecosystem.


5 1 anglais



Research topics

• Sex determination and differentiation
• Epigenetic regulation of reproductive development
• Fruit development and maturation

In order to achieve our goals, we have generated resources spanning the palm family which include tissues collections, molecular databases, phenotyping tools and bioinformatics pipelines.

Permanent staff

  • ABERLENC-BERTOSSI Frédérique IR1/IRD, HDR, Responsable de l’équipe
  • BEULE Thierry Cadre (eq. IE)/Cirad
  • COLLIN Myriam AI/IRD
  • ILBERT Pascal non cadre (eq. AI)/Cirad
  • JALIGOT Estelle Cadre (eq. CR1)/Cirad
  • MORCILLO Fabienne Cadre (eq. CR1)/Cirad
  • RICHAUD Frédérique Cadre (eq. IE)/Cirad
  • TRANBARGER Timothy John CR1/IRD, HDR

Current PhD/Post-doctoral fellows and temporary staff

  • CASTILLO Karina, Thèse (2011-2015) IRD-Chili-DPF
  • CHERIF Emira Post-Doc (2014-2016), Qatar Foundation
  • FOOYONPHANICH Kim, Thèse (2012-15), MAE Thaïlande / SAS PalmElit
  • GUERIN Chloé Thèse (2012-15), CIFRE / SAS PalmElit (50% DESSITROP)
  • HOOI Wei-Yeng Thèse, (2013-16) Sud AIRD / CIRAD - FELDA Malaisie
  • SERRET Julien, CDD assistant ingénieur / SAS PalmElit


Partnerships 1