The roots of land plants - including major crops such as rice and wheat - associate with a wide range of microbes present in the soil. These microbes, collectively called the root-associated microbiota, exert numerous beneficial functions such as pathogen defense and mineral mobilization. Recently, it has been shown that the root-associated microbiota preferentially colonizes hosts with a shared evolutionary history (Wippel et al. 2021). Yet, the rules according to which the root-associated microbiota is assembled remain elusive. Therefore, we aim to investigate the phenomenon of host preference observed in commensal bacteria in a community context. By using experimental evolution of a synthetic community (SynCom) of root-derived microbes, coupled with whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the evolved strains, we hope to gain a profound understanding of the genes involved in adaptation towards a specific host plant.
Department of Plant Microbe Interactions
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research