Artificial selection of stable rhizosphere microbiota leads to heritable plant phenotype changes
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Artificial selection of microbiota opens new avenues for improving plants. However, reported results lack consistency. We hypothesised that the success in artificial selection of microbiota depends on the stabilisation of community structure. In a ten-generation experiment involving 1,800 plants, we selected rhizosphere microbiota of Brachypodium distachyon associated with high or low leaf greenness, a proxy of plant performance. The microbiota structure showed strong fluctuations during an initial transitory phase, with no detectable leaf greenness heritability. After five generations, the microbiota structure stabilised, concomitantly with heritability in leaf greenness. Selection, initially ineffective, did successfully alter the selected property as intended, especially for high selection. We show a remarkable correlation between the variability in plant traits and selected microbiota structures, revealing two distinct sub-communities associated with high or low leaf greenness, whose abundance was significantly steered by directional selection. Understanding microbiota structure stabilisation will improve the reliability of artificial microbiota selection.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- evolution, group selection, heritability, interaction, microbiota, plant-microbe interaction, stability