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Last update: May 2021

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Who are we?

R-SYST is a national network of around a dozen research teams including technicians, researchers and engineers in the fields of molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics who are involved in the molecular and morphological characterisation of organisms.

These teams are from two departments at INRA: SPE and EFPA.


The network's ambition is to develop a dictionary of genetic and phenotypic variability, thus enabling a better characterisation of these organisms. The objective is to develop a computer tool (for scientists and non-specialist professionals) for the identification of species of groups of organisms that are of interest to INRA (trees, insects, fungi, micro-algae and bacteria) based on a network of expertise in the fields of taxonomy, molecular biology and bioinformatics.
The ultimate objective is therefore to obtain a tool that is accessible to all (via the Internet) including:

  • One or several databases grouping together all the living organisms studied at INRA, indexed according to their detailed information sheets (specimen, species name, DNA sequence by which it can be identified)
  • A detailed search engine to consult this database

This tool can have diverse applications: biodiversity management, surveillance of bio-aggressors, water quality, or identification of organisms of medical or veterinary interest.
Researchers at INRA who have many years’ experience in the description, classification and recognition of organisms can now add knowledge of the genome and its variability to their panoply. All these skills will be made available to the greatest number of people thanks to the set up of a database accessible via the Internet enabling organisms to be identified according to the sequencing of their genome, which is becoming an increasingly accessible process. The user will send the sample to be identified, for example a caterpillar found in an apple, to a specialised company who will carry out the sequencing. The sequence obtained will be compared via the R-Syst database with the collection of sequences obtained by INRA and other research organisations, thus enabling a rapid identification. A documented and illustrated descriptive sheet will enable the user to discover more and even possibly obtain advice on steps to be taken.