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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Preprint

    Final published version, 1.34 MB, PDF document

  • Samuel Jacquiod
  • Aymé Spor
  • Shaodong Wei
  • Victoria Munkager
  • David Bru
  • Sørensen, Søren Johannes
  • Christophe Salon
  • Laurent Philippot
  • Manuel Blouin

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)189-201
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Research areas

  • evolution, group selection, heritability, interaction, microbiota, plant-microbe interaction, stability

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 286416732