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Artificial selection of stable rhizosphere microbiota leads to heritable plant phenotype changes

Abstract : Research on artificial selection of microbial community has become popular due to perspectives in improving plant and animal health 1-4 . However, reported results still lack consistency 5-8 . We hypothesized that artificial selection may provide desired outcomes provided that microbial community structure has stabilized along the selection process. In a ten-generation artificial selection experiment involving 1,800 plants, we selected rhizosphere microbiota of Brachypodium distachyon that were associated with high or low levels of leaf greenness, a proxy for plant health 9 . Monitoring of the rhizosphere microbiota dynamics showed strong oscillations in community structure during an initial transitory phase of five generations, with no heritability in the selected property. In the last five generations, the structure of microbial communities displayed signs of stabilization, concomitantly to the appearance of heritability in leaf greenness. Selection pressure, initially ineffective, became successful in changing the greenness index in the intended direction, especially toward high greenness values. We showed a remarkable congruence between plant traits and selected microbial community structures, highlighting two phylogenetically distinct microbial sub-communities correlating with leaf greenness, whose abundance was significantly steered by directional artificial selection. Understanding microbial community structure stabilization can thus help improve the reliability of artificial microbiota selection.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 2:22:41 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 12:35:05 PM

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Samuel Jacquiod, Aymé Spor, Shaodong Wei, Victoria Munkager, David Bru, et al.. Artificial selection of stable rhizosphere microbiota leads to heritable plant phenotype changes. Ecology Letters, Wiley, 2022, 25 (1), pp.189-201. ⟨10.1101/2021.04.13.439601⟩. ⟨hal-03275844⟩



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