Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 12;7:12151. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12151.

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

Author information

Program in Genetics and Genomics, Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.
Department of Biology, Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, Carolina Center for Genome Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California 94598, USA.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center