Domestication-driven metaorganism evolution in wheat

Özkurt, Ezgi

Plants are not standalone entities but colonized by an immense diversity of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes, collectively called the “plant microbiota”. In my PhD thesis, I studied the impact of domestication on the vertically-transmitted (i.e. seedborne) and environmentally-acquired microbial community assembly in the bread wheat Triticum aestivum and its wild progenitors. Furthermore, I disentangled factors shaping seedborne microbial variation in domesticated wheat. In my study, I improved and optimized techniques to increase the accuracy and resolution of amplicon-based sequencing of wheat seeds based on 16S rRNA and ITS marker loci for bacterial and fungal profiling, respectively. Using these techniques, I revealed that: i) Domestication may has conferred a strong role of stochastic processes in the assembly of vertical transmitting microbes, ii) Domestication has not affected the ability of the plant to assemble soil-derived microbial diversity in leaves and roots, iii) Intra- and inter-plant variation is comparable in seedborne microbial communities. This study is, to the best of my knowledge, the most comprehensive study analyzing wheat microbial communities spanning a wide collection of genotypes in details.

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Özkurt, Ezgi: Domestication-driven metaorganism evolution in wheat. 2020.

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