Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



The ISME Journal (2021) 15:3181–3194


Host genetics has recently been shown to be a driver of plant microbiome composition. However, identifying the underlying genetic loci controlling microbial selection remains challenging. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) represent a potentially powerful, unbiased method to identify microbes sensitive to the host genotype and to connect them with the genetic loci that influence their colonization. Here, we conducted a population-level microbiome analysis of the rhizospheres of 200 sorghum genotypes. Using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, we identify rhizosphere-associated bacteria exhibiting heritable associations with plant genotype, and identify significant overlap between these lineages and heritable taxa recently identified in maize. Furthermore, we demonstrate that GWAS can identify host loci that correlate with the abundance of specific subsets of the rhizosphere microbiome. Finally, we demonstrate that these results can be used to predict rhizosphere microbiome structure for an independent panel of sorghum genotypes based solely on knowledge of host genotypic information.