Host genotype and age shape the leaf and root microbiomes of a wild perennial plant

Journal Article

Bacteria living on and in leaves and roots influence many aspects of plant health, so the extent of a plant/'s genetic control over its microbiota is of great interest to crop breeders and evolutionary biologists. Laboratory-based studies, because they poorly simulate true environmental heterogeneity, may misestimate or totally miss the influence of certain host genes on the microbiome. Here we report a large-scale field experiment to disentangle the effects of genotype, environment, age and year of harvest on bacterial communities associated with leaves and roots of Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae), a perennial wild mustard. Host genetic control of the microbiome is evident in leaves but not roots, and varies substantially among sites. Microbiome composition also shifts as plants age. Furthermore, a large proportion of leaf bacterial groups are shared with roots, suggesting inoculation from soil. Our results demonstrate how genotype-by-environment interactions contribute to the complexity of microbiome assembly in natural environments.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wagner, MR; Lundberg, DS; del Rio, TG; Tringe, SG; Dangl, JL; Mitchell-Olds, T

Published Date

  • July 12, 2016

Published In

  • Nat Commun

Volume / Issue

  • 7 /

Published By

PubMed ID

  • 27402057

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4945892