About us

The unit

URGI has three key research objectives: deciphering the structural genomics of plants and plant pathogens; exploring the related evolutionary and functional patterns; and improving interpretation of these data.



Located in Versailles, the Research Unit for Genomics and Bioinformatics (URGI) is affiliated with INRAE’s Plant Biology and Breeding (BAP) Division. Its roots stretch back to 2000, when the plant bioinformatics platform Génoplante-Info was created as part of the Génoplante Programme. At that time, the researchers’ main responsibilities were to manage the data produced by programme partners; ensure the traceability of data and tool exchanges among public and private partners; develop research and data analysis approaches; and furnish secure and effective informatics resources.

Understanding genome dynamics

URGI scientists now focus on transposable elements and genetic repetition, which, as we have learned, can reveal genome evolution and functioning. Indeed, the former play a major role in explaining genome size and structure. Although long seen as intragenomic parasites, transposable elements are currently thought to have given rise to many essential biological constructions, including the immune system, centromeres, heterochromatin, and telomerases.

All URGI’s data and discoveries are deposited in GnpIS, the unit’s information system, a valuable resource for exploiting research findings. As this pool of knowledge grows and becomes ever more heterogeneous, URGI is exploring different data integration approaches, including NoSQL tools and indexing structures. The goal is to improve the semantic query system, thus facilitating the search for and retrieval of qualitative data. The resulting methodologies and tools are made available to users via the unit’s technical platform: PlantBioinfoPF.

Modification date: 19 September 2023 | Publication date: 03 November 2020 | By: Jess Pearce