The effect of plant domestication on host control of the microbiota

AbstractMacroorganisms are colonized by microbial communities that exert important biological and ecological functions, the composition of which is subject to host control and has therefore been described as “an ecosystem on a leash”. However, domesticated organisms such as crop plants are subject to both artificial selection and natural selection exerted by the agricultural ecosystem. Here, we propose a framework for understanding how host control of the microbiota is influenced by domestication, in which a double leash acts from domesticator to host and host to microbes. We discuss how this framework applies to a plant compartment that has demonstrated remarkable phenotypic changes during domestication: the seed.

Soldan, R., Fusi, M., Cardinale, M., Daffonchio, D., & Preston, G. M. (2021). The effect of plant domestication on host control of the microbiota. Communications Biology, 4(1). doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02467-6

We thank Kevin Foster (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford), Kayla King (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford), and two anonymous reviewers for valuable feedback on our proposed double-leash framework and Nicolas Arning (Big Data Institute, University of Oxford) for feedback on Fig. 2. R.S. is supported by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant BB/M011224/1, the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford) and the Ermenegildo Zegna’s founder scholarship. This project was also supported by BBSRC grant BB/R009236/1 awarded to G.M.P

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