Prof. Michele Morgante

Full Professor

University of Udine

Laboratory of Plant Genomics

Appointments and qualifications:

1983-1987: Laurea in Forest Sciences, Università di Padova, Italy

1988-1990 Research Fellow of Regione FVG at the Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale e Tecnologie Agrarie, University of Udine, Italy.

1990-1992 Research Fellow in Agricultural Genetics of the "V.V. Landi" Foundation of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

1992-1994 Postdoctoral Visiting Scientist at Agricultural Products Department - Biotechnology Research, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, DE

1994-2000 Tenured Assistant Professor, Genetics, at the Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale e Tecnologie Agrarie, University of Udine, Italy (on leave of absence from 02/1998 to 10/2000)

1998-2002 Senior Scientist, Agricultural Products Department - Biotechnology Research, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, DE

2000- 2005 Associate Professor, Plant Genetics, at the Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale e Tecnologie Agrarie, University of Udine, Italy (part-time appointment until 11/2002)

2005- current Full Professor, Genetics, Università di Udine

2005- 2009 Guest Professor, Umea Plant Science Center, Umea University, Sweden

2006- current Scientific Director, Istituto di Genomica Applicata, Parco Scientifico Luigi Danieli, Udine

2008-2013 Rector Delegate for Research and Technology Transfer, Università di Udine

2010- Associate Researcher, Istituto di Genetica Vegetale, CNR

2013-2013 Vice Rector (Prorettore Vicario), Università di Udine

2013- current President, Consorzio InnovaFVG

2013-2015 President elect, Società Italiana di Genetica Agraria

2015-2017 President, Società Italiana di Genetica Agraria

2015-current Board member, Area Science Park, Trieste

Awards and honors

- 2015 Elected Member, Accademia Nazionale di Agricoltura

- 2011 European Research Council Advanced Grant Award

- 2010 Elected Member, Accademia Italiana della Vite e del Vino

- 2007 Elected Member, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italian National Academy of Sciences)

- 2006 Elected Member, Accademia Italiana di Scienze Forestali

- 2005 Medal for Physical and Natural Sciences, Accademia delle Scienze detta dei XL

- 2003 DuPont Young Professor Award

- 1990 Research Fellowhsip, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

Recent miscellaneous activity


Associate Editor, Theoretical and Applied Genetics (2005-2009); Associate Editor, Tree Genetics and Genomes (2005-2009); Associate Editor, BMC Genetics (2010-2011); Section Editor, BMC Genetics (2011-); Associate Editor, BMC Plant Biology (2010-)

Scientific Advisory Boards:

Dipartimento Agroalimentare, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (2006-2012);

IBERS, Aberystwyth University, UK (2008-);

UPSC Research School in Forest Genetics, Umea, Sweden (2005-2009);

IRTA (Instituto de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries), Barcelona (2010-)

SMARTForest Project, GenomeCanada, Canada, (2011-)

French Plant Genomic Resources Center (CNRGV), Francia (2013-)

Board of Directors:

Area Science Park, Trieste (2008-2011)

IGA Technology Services Srl (2013-)

Area Science Park, Trieste (2015-2018)

Grant Advisory Panels:

ERC, Advanced Grants Life Sciences 8: Evolutionary, Population and Environmental Biology (2008-2011);  ERC Consolidator Grants Life Sciences 9: Applied Life Sciences and Biotechnology (2013-active); NSF Plant Genome Panel (2006); Generation Challenge Program Panel (2004); Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Biotechnology and Bioresource Engineering (2010-2011); EU FPVII-Infrastructures (2010-2011); Chile Genome Program CONICYT (2008-2013), NWO (Olanda) (2014, 2015, 2017), Experimental Plant Science Doctorate School (Olanda) (2015), Commissione MIUR per progetti PON distretti e laboratory pubblico-privato (2013-), ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) Spagna (2015, 2017).

Grant Funding


ERANET-Plant Genomics Research project: “Genomics-assisted dissection of barley morphology and development” P.I. (2007-2011) 429000 EU

MIPAF Progetto Speciale DRUPOMICS  “Sequenziamento del genoma del pesco ed utilizzo della sequenza in programmi di miglioramento della qualità del frutto del pesco e della resistenza alle malattie” P.I. (2008-2010) 690000 EU

MIPAF Progetto Speciale Cromosoma 5A Frumento  “Mappa fisica del cromosoma 5A dei frumenti”:  P.I. (2008-2011) 200000 EU

MIPAF Special Project CITROMICS "Citrus genome sequencing and applications to functional genomics and breeding" (2009-2011) 320000 EU

PRIN 2008 "Towards the elucidation of the molecular bases of heterosis in cultivated plants: global molecular characterization of hybrids and discovery of genes involved in heterosis" PI and national coordinator (2010-2012) 34000 EU

NOVELTREEBREEDING “Novel tree breeding strategies” EU FPVII, P.I. (2008-2012) 233000 EU

ENERGYPOPLAR "Enhancing Poplar Traits for Energy Applications" EU FPVII, P.I. (2008-2012) 428000 EU

TRITICEAEGENOME "Genomics for Triticeae improvement" EU FPVII, P.I. (2008-2012) 528000 EU

MIPAF Special Project OLEA "Genomics and breeding of olive tree" (2011-2012) 310000 EU

AGER project "From Seed to Pasta: integrated research for the production of high quality durum wheat": P.I. (2010-2013) 470000 EU

MIPAF Special Project VITIGNO "Analysis and evaluation of Italian autoctonous grapevine varieties" (2011-2013) 330000 EU

MIUR Progetto Bandiera Epigenomica: "Next generation sequencing for epigenomic analysis" (2012-2014) 4200000 EU

European Research Council Advanced Grant: "NOVABREED: Novel variation in plant breeding and the plant pan-genomes" (2012-2017) 2473500 EU

WATBIO “Development of improved perennial non-food biomass and bioproduct crops for water stressed environments”, EU FPVII, P.I. (2012-2017) 900000 EU


I am inventor on 16 US and international patents concerning genome analysis methods and the use of genes in plant breeding and transgenic applications

Tutoring activity

I have been PhD thesis advisor for 18 students (6 current) and of 30 postdocs (5 current) many of which have continued in a successful science career with positions at University of Arizona, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa, INRA, IASMA, Danforth Plant Science Center or in private companies.


As of 01/01/2018 I have more than 130 publications (3 in Nature, 3 in Nature Genetics, 3 in Nature Biotechnology, 2 in Nature Reviews Genetics, 3 in PNAS) indexed in Web of Science starting in 1991 that have attracted in Google Scholar 25413 citations for an H-index of 66.

Research interests

Structural and functional genomics, genome evolution, epigenetic variation, variation of gene regulation, transposable elements and their role in regulating gene expression.

Selected publications:

  1. MORGANTE M, BRUNNER S, PEA G, FENGLER K, ZUCCOLO A, RAFALSKI A.  2005 Gene duplication and exon shuffling by helitron-like transposons generate intraspecies diversity in maize. Nature Genetics 37: 997-1002.
  2. MORGANTE M, DE PAOLI E, RADOVIC S. 2007 Transposable elements and the plant pan-genomes. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 10:149-155.
  3. S. SALVI, G. SPONZA, M. MORGANTE , D. TOMES , X. NIU , K.A.FENGLER , R. MEELEY , E.V. ANANIEV , S. SVITASHEV , E. BRUGGEMANN , B. LI , C.F. HAINEY , S. RADOVIC , G. ZAINA , J.A. RAFALSKI , S.V. TINGEY , G.H. MIAO , R.L. PHILLIPS , R. TUBEROSA 2007 Conserved non-coding genomic sequences associated with a flowering time QTL in maize. Proceedings National Academy of Science of the USA, 104:11376-11381.
  4. The French-Italian Public Consortium for Grapevine Genome Characterization 2007 The grapevine genome sequence suggests ancestral hexaploidization in major angiosperm phyla. Nature, 449:463-467.
  5. VON KORFF M, RADOVIC S, CHOUMANE W, STAMATI K, UDUPA SM, GRANDO S, CECCARELLI S, MACKAY I, POWELL W, BAUM M, MORGANTE M. 2009 Asymmetric allele-specific expression in relation to developmental variation and drought stress in barley hybrids. Plant J. Jul;59(1):14-26.
  6. MARRONI F, PINOSIO S, DI CENTA E, JURMAN I, BOERJAN W, FELICE N, CATTONARO F,  MORGANTE M. Large scale detection of rare variants via pooled multiplexed next generation sequencing: towards next generation Ecotilling. Plant J. 2011 Aug;67(4):736-45.
  7. Marroni F, Pinosio S, Morgante M. The quest for rare variants: pooled multiplexed next generation sequencing in plants. Front Plant Sci. 2012;3:133. Epub 2012 Jun 28.
  8. The International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium; Principal investigators, Mayer KF, Waugh R, Langridge P, Close TJ, Wise RP, Graner A, Matsumoto T, Sato K, Schulman A, Muehlbauer GJ, Stein N; Physical map construction and direct anchoring, Ariyadasa R, Schulte D, Poursarebani N, Zhou R, Steuernagel B, Mascher M, Scholz U, Shi B, Langridge P, Madishetty K, Svensson JT, Bhat P, Moscou M, Resnik J, Close TJ, Muehlbauer GJ, Hedley P, Liu H, Morris  J, Waugh R, Frenkel Z, Korol A, Bergès H, Graner A, Stein N; Genomic sequencing and assembly, Steuernagel B, Scholz U, Taudien S, Felder M, Groth M, Platzer M, Stein N; BAC sequencing and assembly, Steuernagel B, Scholz U, Himmelbach A, Taudien S, Felder M, Platzer M, Lonardi S, Duma D, Alpert M, Cordero F, Beccuti M, Ciardo G, Ma Y, Wanamaker S, Close TJ, Stein N; BAC-end sequencing, Cattonaro  F, Vendramin V, Scalabrin S, Radovic S, Wing R, Schulte D, Steuernagel B, Morgante M, Stein N, Waugh R; Integration of physical/genetic map and sequence resources, Nussbaumer T, Gundlach H, Martis M, Ariyadasa R, Poursarebani N, Steuernagel B, Scholz U, Wise RP, Poland J, Stein N, Mayer KF; Gene annotation, Spannagl M, Pfeifer M, Gundlach H, Mayer KF; Repetitive DNA analysis, Gundlach H, Moisy C, Tanskanen J, Scalabrin S, Zuccolo A, Vendramin V, Morgante M, Mayer KF,  Schulman A; Transcriptome sequencing and analysis, Pfeifer M, Spannagl M, Hedley  P, Morris J, Russell J, Druka A, Marshall D, Bayer M, Swarbreck D, Sampath D, Ayling S, Febrer M, Caccamo M, Matsumoto T, Tanaka T, Sato K, Wise RP, Close TJ,  Wannamaker S, Muehlbauer GJ, Stein N, Mayer KF, Waugh R; Re-sequencing and diversity analysis, Steuernagel B, Schmutzer T, Mascher M, Scholz U, Taudien S, Platzer M, Sato K, Marshall D, Bayer M, Waugh R, Stein N; Writing and editing of  the manuscript, Mayer KF, Waugh R, Brown JW, Schulman A, Langridge P, Platzer M,  Fincher GB, Muehlbauer GJ, Sato K, Close TJ, Wise RP, Stein N. A physical, genetic and functional sequence assembly of the barley genome. Nature. 2012 Nov 29;491(7426):711-6.
  9. The International Peach Genome Initiative, Verde I, Abbott AG, Scalabrin S, Jung S, Shu S, Marroni F, Zhebentyayeva T, Dettori MT, Grimwood J, Cattonaro F,Zuccolo A, Rossini L, Jenkins J, Vendramin E, Meisel LA, Decroocq V, Sosinski B, Prochnik S, Mitros T, Policriti A, Cipriani G, Dondini L, Ficklin S, Goodstein DM, Xuan P, Fabbro CD, Aramini V, Copetti D, Gonzalez S, Horner DS, Falchi R, Lucas S, Mica E, Maldonado J, Lazzari B, Bielenberg D, Pirona R, Miculan M, Barakat A, Testolin R, Stella A, Tartarini S, Tonutti P, Arús P, Orellana A, Wells C, Main D, Vizzotto G, Silva H, Salamini F, Schmutz J, Morgante M, Rokhsar DS. The high-quality draft genome of peach (Prunus persica) identifies unique patterns of genetic diversity, domestication and genome evolution. Nat Genet. 2013 45(5):487-94.
  10. Nystedt B, Street NR, Wetterbom A, Zuccolo A, Lin YC, Scofield DG, Vezzi F, Delhomme N, Giacomello S, Alexeyenko A, Vicedomini R, Sahlin K, Sherwood E, Elfstrand M, Gramzow L, Holmberg K, Hällman J, Keech O, Klasson L, Koriabine M, Kucukoglu M, Käller M, Luthman J, Lysholm F, Niittylä T, Olson A, Rilakovic N, Ritland C, Rosselló JA, Sena J, Svensson T, Talavera-López C, Theißen G, Tuominen H, Vanneste K, Wu ZQ, Zhang B, Zerbe P, Arvestad L, Bhalerao R, Bohlmann J, Bousquet J, Garcia Gil R, Hvidsten TR, de Jong P, MacKay J, Morgante M, Ritland K, Sundberg B, Thompson SL, Van de Peer Y, Andersson B, Nilsson O, Ingvarsson PK, Lundeberg J, Jansson S. The Norway spruce genome sequence and conifer genome evolution. Nature. 2013 May 30;497(7451):579-84.
  11. Falchi R, Vendramin E, Zanon L, Scalabrin S, Cipriani G, Verde I, Vizzotto G, Morgante M. Three distinct mutational mechanisms acting on a single gene underpin the origin of yellow flesh in peach. Plant J. 2013 Oct;76(2):175-87.
  12. Marroni F, Pinosio S, Morgante M. Structural variation and genome complexity: is dispensable really dispensable? Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2014 Apr;18:31-6.
  13. Wu GA, Prochnik S, Jenkins J, Salse J, Hellsten U, Murat F, Perrier X, Ruiz M, Scalabrin S, Terol J, Takita MA, Labadie K, Poulain J, Couloux A, Jabbari K, Cattonaro F, Del Fabbro C, Pinosio S, Zuccolo A, Chapman J, Grimwood J, Tadeo FR, Estornell LH, Muñoz-Sanz JV, Ibanez V, Herrero-Ortega A, Aleza P, Pérez-Pérez J,  Ramón D, Brunel D, Luro F, Chen C, Farmerie WG, Desany B, Kodira C, Mohiuddin M, Harkins T, Fredrikson K, Burns P, Lomsadze A, Borodovsky M, Reforgiato G, Freitas-Astúa J, Quetier F, Navarro L, Roose M, Wincker P, Schmutz J, Morgante M, Machado MA, Talon M, Jaillon O, Ollitrault P, Gmitter F, Rokhsar D. Sequencing of diverse mandarin, pummelo and orange genomes reveals complex history of admixture during citrus domestication. Nat Biotechnol. 2014 Jul;32(7):656-62.
  14. Zuccolo A, Scofield DG, De Paoli E, Morgante M. The Ty1-copia LTR retroelement family PARTC is highly conserved in conifers over 200 MY of evolution. Gene. 2015 Aug 15;568(1):89-99.
  15. Dell'Acqua M, Gatti DM, Pea G, Cattonaro F, Coppens F, Magris G, Hlaing AL, Aung HH, Nelissen H, Baute J, Frascaroli E, Churchill GA, Inzé D, Morgante M, Pè ME. Genetic properties of the MAGIC maize population: a new platform for high definition QTL mapping in Zea mays. Genome Biol. 2015 Sep 11;16:167.
  16. Faivre-Rampant P, Zaina G, Jorge V, Giacomello S, Segura V, Scalabrin S, Guérin V, De Paoli E, Aluome C, Viger M, Cattonaro F, Payne A, PaulStephenRaj P,  Le Paslier MC, Berard A, Allwright MR, Villar M, Taylor G, Bastien C, Morgante M. New resources for genetic studies in Populus nigra: genome-wide SNP discovery and development of a 12k Infinium array. Mol Ecol Resour. 2016 Jul;16(4):1023-36.
  17. Pinosio S, Giacomello S, Faivre-Rampant P, Taylor G, Jorge V, Le Paslier MC, Zaina G, Bastien C, Cattonaro F, Marroni F, Morgante M. Characterization of the poplar pan-genome by genome-wide identification of structural variation. Mol Biol Evol. 2016 Aug 7. pii: msw161.
  18. Marroni F, Scaglione D, Pinosio S, Policriti A, Miculan M, Di Gaspero G, Morgante M. Reduction of heterozygosity (ROH) as a method to detect mosaic structural variation. Plant Biotechnol J. 2017 Jul;15(7):791-793.
  19. Hirsch T, Rothoeft T, Teig N, Bauer JW, Pellegrini G, De Rosa L, Scaglione D, Reichelt J, Klausegger A, Kneisz D, Romano O, Secone Seconetti A, Contin R, Enzo E, Jurman I, Carulli S, Jacobsen F, Luecke T, Lehnhardt M, Fischer M, Kueckelhaus M, Quaglino D, Morgante M, Bicciato S, Bondanza S, De Luca M. Regeneration of the entire human epidermis using transgenic stem cells. Nature. 2017 Nov 16;551(7680):327-332. doi: 10.1038/nature24487.