Quantitative genetic-by-soil microbiome interactions in a perennial grass affect functional traits Academic Article uri icon


  • Plants interact with diverse microbiomes that can impact plant growth and performance. Recent studies highlight the potential beneficial aspects of plant microbiomes, including the possibility that microbes facilitate the process of local adaptation in their host plants. Microbially mediated local adaptation in plants occurs when local host genotypes have higher fitness than foreign genotypes because of their affiliation with locally beneficial microbes. Here, plant adaptation results from genetic interactions of the host with locally beneficial microbes (e.g. host genotype-by-microbiome interactions). We used a recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping population derived from upland and lowland ecotypes of the diploid C4 perennial bunch grassPanicum halliito explore quantitative genetic responses to soil microbiomes focusing on functional root and shoot traits involved in ecotypic divergence. We show that the growth and development of ecotypes and their trait divergence depends on soil microbiomes. Moreover, we find that the genetic architecture is modified by soil microbiomes, revealing important plant genotype-by-microbiome interactions for quantitative traits. We detected a number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) that interact with the soil microbiome. Our results highlight the importance of microbial interactions in ecotypic divergence and trait genetic architecture in C4 perennial grasses.

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Khasanova, A., Edwards, J., Bonnette, J., Singer, E., Haque, T., & Juenger, T. E.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Khasanova, Albina||Edwards, Joseph||Bonnette, Jason||Singer, Esther||Haque, Taslima||Juenger, Thomas E

publication date

  • January 2023