Engineering the Crop Microbiota Through Host Genetics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The microbiota populating the plant-soil continuum defines an untapped resource for sustainable crop production. The host plant is a driver for the taxonomic composition and function of these microbial communities. In this review, we illustrate how the host genetic determinants of the microbiota have been shaped by plant domestication and crop diversification. We continue discussing how the heritable component of microbiota recruitment may represent, at least partially, a selection for microbial functions underpinning the growth, development, and health of their host plants. We illustrate how host-microbiota interactions can be treated as an ‘external’ quantitative trait and propose strategies to integrate microbiota manipulation in crop selection programmes. Although a detailed understanding of when and how heritability for microbiota composition can be deployed for breeding purposes is still lacking, we argue that advances in crop genomics are likely to accelerate wider applications of plant-microbiota interactions in agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2023


  • crops
  • microbiota
  • domestication
  • roots
  • rhizosphere
  • plant breeding


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