Impacts of Maize Domestication and Breeding on Rhizosphere Microbial Community Recruitment from a Nutrient Depleted Agricultural Soil.
ABSTRACT: Maize domestication and breeding have resulted in drastic and well documented changes in aboveground traits, but belowground effects on root system functioning and rhizosphere microbial communities remain poorly understood, despite their critical importance for nutrient and water acquisition. We investigated the rhizosphere microbial community composition and structure of ten Zea mays accessions along an evolutionary transect (two teosinte, three inbred maize lines, and five modern maize hybrids) grown in nutrient depleted soil from a low input agricultural system. Microbial community analysis revealed significant differences in community composition between soil compartments (proximal vs. distal rhizosphere) and between plant genetic groups (teosinte, inbred, and modern hybrid). Only a small portion of the microbial community was differentially selected across plant genetic groups: 3.7% of prokaryotic community members and 4.9% of fungal community members were significantly associated with a specific plant genetic group. Indicator species analysis showed the greatest differentiation between modern hybrids and the other two plant genetic groups. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that microbial co-occurrence patterns of the inbred maize lines' rhizosphere were significantly more similar to those of the teosintes than to the modern hybrids. Our results suggest that advances in hybrid development significantly impacted rhizosphere microbial communities and network assembly.
Project description:Maize was domesticated from lowland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis), but the contribution of highland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. mexicana, hereafter mexicana) to modern maize is not clear. Here, two genomes for Mo17 (a modern maize inbred) and mexicana are assembled using a meta-assembly strategy after sequencing of 10 lines derived from a maize-teosinte cross. Comparative analyses reveal a high level of diversity between Mo17, B73, and mexicana, including three Mb-size structural rearrangements. The maize spontaneous mutation rate is estimated to be 2.17 × 10-8 ~3.87 × 10-8 per site per generation with a nonrandom distribution across the genome. A higher deleterious mutation rate is observed in the pericentromeric regions, and might be caused by differences in recombination frequency. Over 10% of the maize genome shows evidence of introgression from the mexicana genome, suggesting that mexicana contributed to maize adaptation and improvement. Our data offer a rich resource for constructing the pan-genome of Zea mays and genetic improvement of modern maize varieties.
Project description:Rhizosphere microbial communities are critically important for soil nitrogen cycling and plant productivity. There is evidence that plant species and genotypes select distinct rhizosphere communities, however, knowledge of the drivers and extent of this variation remains limited. We grew 11 annual species and 11 maize (Zea mays subsp. mays) inbred lines in a common garden experiment to assess the influence of host phylogeny, growth, and nitrogen metabolism on rhizosphere communities. Growth characteristics, bacterial community composition and potential activity of extracellular enzymes were assayed at time of flowering, when plant nitrogen demand is maximal. Bacterial community composition varied significantly between different plant species and genotypes. Rhizosphere beta-diversity was positively correlated with phylogenetic distance between plant species, but not genetic distance within a plant species. In particular, life history traits associated with plant resource acquisition (e.g., longer lifespan, high nitrogen use efficiency, and larger seed size) were correlated with variation in bacterial community composition and enzyme activity. These results indicate that plant evolutionary history and life history strategy influence rhizosphere bacterial community composition and activity. Thus, incorporating phylogenetic or functional diversity into crop rotations may be a tool to manipulate plant-microbe interactions in agricultural systems.
Project description:Teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) is the wild ancestor of modern maize (Zea mays ssp. mays). Teosinte contains greater genetic diversity compared with maize inbreds and landraces, but its use is limited by insufficient genetic resources to evaluate its value. A population of teosinte near isogenic lines (NILs) was previously developed to broaden the resources for genetic diversity of maize, and to discover novel alleles for agronomic and domestication traits. The 961 teosinte NILs were developed by backcrossing 10 geographically diverse parviglumis accessions into the B73 (reference genome inbred) background. The NILs were grown in two replications in 2009 and 2010 in Columbia, MO and Aurora, NY, respectively, and near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance calibrations were developed and used to rapidly predict total kernel starch, protein, and oil content on a dry matter basis in bulk whole grains of teosinte NILs. Our joint-linkage quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis identified two starch, three protein, and six oil QTL, which collectively explained 18, 23, and 45% of the total variation, respectively. A range of strong additive allelic effects for kernel starch, protein, and oil content were identified relative to the B73 allele. Our results support our hypothesis that teosinte harbors stronger alleles for kernel composition traits than maize, and that teosinte can be exploited for the improvement of kernel composition traits in modern maize germplasm.
Project description:Sweet corn is one of the most important vegetables in the United States and Canada. Here, we present a de novo assembly of a sweet corn inbred line Ia453 with the mutated shrunken2-reference allele (Ia453-sh2). This mutation accumulates more sugar and is present in most commercial hybrids developed for the processing and fresh markets. The ten pseudochromosomes cover 92% of the total assembly and 99% of the estimated genome size, with a scaffold N50 of 222.2?Mb. This reference genome completely assembles the large structural variation that created the mutant sh2-R allele. Furthermore, comparative genomics analysis with six field corn genomes highlights differences in single-nucleotide polymorphisms, structural variations, and transposon composition. Phylogenetic analysis of 5,381 diverse maize and teosinte accessions reveals genetic relationships between sweet corn and other types of maize. Our results show evidence for a common origin in northern Mexico for modern sweet corn in the U.S. Finally, population genomic analysis identifies regions of the genome under selection and candidate genes associated with sweet corn traits, such as early flowering, endosperm composition, plant and tassel architecture, and kernel row number. Our study provides a high-quality reference-genome sequence to facilitate comparative genomics, functional studies, and genomic-assisted breeding for sweet corn.
Project description:Pioneering archaeological expeditions lead by Richard MacNeish in the 1960s identified the valley of Tehuacán as an important center of early Mesoamerican agriculture, providing by far the widest collection of ancient crop remains, including maize. In 2012, a new exploration of San Marcos cave (Tehuacán, Mexico) yielded nonmanipulated maize specimens dating at a similar age of 5,300-4,970 calibrated y B.P. On the basis of shotgun sequencing and genomic comparisons to Balsas teosinte and modern maize, we show herein that the earliest maize from San Marcos cave was a partial domesticate diverging from the landraces and containing ancestral allelic variants that are absent from extant maize populations. Whereas some domestication loci, such as teosinte branched1 (tb1) and brittle endosperm2 (bt2), had already lost most of the nucleotide variability present in Balsas teosinte, others, such as teosinte glume architecture1 (tga1) and sugary1 (su1), conserved partial levels of nucleotide variability that are absent from extant maize. Genetic comparisons among three temporally convergent samples revealed that they were homozygous and identical by descent across their genome. Our results indicate that the earliest maize from San Marcos was already inbred, opening the possibility for Tehuacán maize cultivation evolving from reduced founder populations of isolated and perhaps self-pollinated individuals.
Project description:The rhizosphere is a critical interface supporting the exchange of resources between plants and their associated soil environment. Rhizosphere microbial diversity is influenced by the physical and chemical properties of the rhizosphere, some of which are determined by the genetics of the host plant. However, within a plant species, the impact of genetic variation on the composition of the microbiota is poorly understood. Here, we characterized the rhizosphere bacterial diversity of 27 modern maize inbreds possessing exceptional genetic diversity grown under field conditions. Randomized and replicated plots of the inbreds were planted in five field environments in three states, each with unique soils and management conditions. Using pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes, we observed substantial variation in bacterial richness, diversity, and relative abundances of taxa between bulk soil and the maize rhizosphere, as well as between fields. The rhizospheres from maize inbreds exhibited both a small but significant proportion of heritable variation in total bacterial diversity across fields, and substantially more heritable variation between replicates of the inbreds within each field. The results of this study should facilitate expanded studies to identify robust heritable plant-microbe interactions at the level of individual polymorphisms by genome wide association, so that plant-microbiome interactions can ultimately be incorporated into plant breeding.
Project description:Recombinant inbred lines (RILs) are an important resource for mapping genes controlling complex traits in many species. While RIL populations have been developed for maize, a maize RIL population with multiple teosinte inbred lines as parents has been lacking. Here, we report a teosinte nested association mapping (TeoNAM) population, derived from crossing five teosinte inbreds to the maize inbred line W22. The resulting 1257 BC1S4 RILs were genotyped with 51,544 SNPs, providing a high-density genetic map with a length of 1540 cM. On average, each RIL is 15% homozygous teosinte and 8% heterozygous. We performed joint linkage mapping (JLM) and a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for 22 domestication and agronomic traits. A total of 255 QTL from JLM were identified, with many of these mapping near known genes or novel candidate genes. TeoNAM is a useful resource for QTL mapping for the discovery of novel allelic variation from teosinte. TeoNAM provides the first report that PROSTRATE GROWTH1, a rice domestication gene, is also a QTL associated with tillering in teosinte and maize. We detected multiple QTL for flowering time and other traits for which the teosinte allele contributes to a more maize-like phenotype. Such QTL could be valuable in maize improvement.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Rhizosphere microbial communities are key regulators of plant performance, yet few studies have assessed the impact of different management approaches on the rhizosphere microbiomes of major crops. Rhizosphere microbial communities are shaped by interactions between agricultural management and host selection processes, but studies often consider these factors individually rather than in combination. We tested the impacts of management (M) and rhizosphere effects (R) on microbial community structure and co-occurrence networks of maize roots collected from long-term conventionally and organically managed maize-tomato agroecosystems. We also explored the interaction between these factors (M?×?R) and how it impacts rhizosphere microbial diversity and composition, differential abundance, indicator taxa, co-occurrence network structure, and microbial nitrogen-cycling processes. RESULTS:Host selection processes moderate the influence of agricultural management on rhizosphere microbial communities, although bacteria and fungi respond differently to plant selection and agricultural management. We found that plants recruit management-system-specific taxa and shift N-cycling pathways in the rhizosphere, distinguishing this soil compartment from bulk soil. Rhizosphere microbiomes from conventional and organic systems were more similar in diversity and network structure than communities from their respective bulk soils, and community composition was affected by both M and R effects. In contrast, fungal community composition was affected only by management, and network structure only by plant selection. Quantification of six nitrogen-cycling genes (nifH, amoA [bacterial and archaeal], nirK, nrfA, and nosZ) revealed that only nosZ abundance was affected by management and was higher in the organic system. CONCLUSIONS:Plant selection interacts with conventional and organic management practices to shape rhizosphere microbial community composition, co-occurrence patterns, and at least one nitrogen-cycling process. Reframing research priorities to better understand adaptive plant-microbe feedbacks and include roots as a significant moderating influence of management outcomes could help guide plant-oriented strategies to improve productivity and agroecosystem sustainability.
Project description:The process of evolution under domestication has been studied using phylogenetics, population genetics-genomics, quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, gene expression assays, and archaeology. Here, we apply an evolutionary quantitative genetic approach to understand the constraints imposed by the genetic architecture of trait variation in teosinte, the wild ancestor of maize, and the consequences of domestication on genetic architecture. Using modern teosinte and maize landrace populations as proxies for the ancestor and domesticate, respectively, we estimated heritabilities, additive and dominance genetic variances, genetic-by-environment variances, genetic correlations, and genetic covariances for 18 domestication-related traits using realized genomic relationships estimated from genome-wide markers. We found a reduction in heritabilities across most traits, and the reduction is stronger in reproductive traits (size and numbers of grains and ears) than vegetative traits. We observed larger depletion in additive genetic variance than dominance genetic variance. Selection intensities during domestication were weak for all traits, with reproductive traits showing the highest values. For 17 of 18 traits, neutral divergence is rejected, suggesting they were targets of selection during domestication. Yield (total grain weight) per plant is the sole trait that selection does not appear to have improved in maize relative to teosinte. From a multivariate evolution perspective, we identified a strong, nonneutral divergence between teosinte and maize landrace genetic variance-covariance matrices (G-matrices). While the structure of G-matrix in teosinte posed considerable genetic constraint on early domestication, the maize landrace G-matrix indicates that the degree of constraint is more unfavorable for further evolution along the same trajectory.
Project description:Wild maize (teosinte) has been reported to be less susceptible to pests than their modern maize (corn) relatives. Endophytes, defined as microbes that inhabit plants without causing disease, are known for their ability to antagonize plant pests and pathogens. We hypothesized that the wild relatives of modern maize may host endophytes that combat pathogens. Fusarium graminearum is the fungus that causes Gibberella Ear Rot (GER) in modern maize and produces the mycotoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON). In this study, 215 bacterial endophytes, previously isolated from diverse maize genotypes including wild teosintes, traditional landraces and modern varieties, were tested for their ability to antagonize F. graminearum in vitro. Candidate endophytes were then tested for their ability to suppress GER in modern maize in independent greenhouse trials. The results revealed that three candidate endophytes derived from wild teosintes were most potent in suppressing F. graminearum in vitro and GER in a modern maize hybrid. These wild teosinte endophytes could suppress a broad spectrum of fungal pathogens of modern crops in vitro. The teosinte endophytes also suppressed DON mycotoxin during storage to below acceptable safety threshold levels. A fourth, less robust anti-fungal strain was isolated from a modern maize hybrid. Three of the anti-fungal endophytes were predicted to be Paenibacillus polymyxa, along with one strain of Citrobacter. Microscopy studies suggested a fungicidal mode of action by all four strains. Molecular and biochemical studies showed that the P. polymyxa strains produced the previously characterized anti-Fusarium compound, fusaricidin. Our results suggest that the wild relatives of modern crops may serve as a valuable reservoir for endophytes in the ongoing fight against serious threats to modern agriculture. We discuss the possible impact of crop evolution and domestication on endophytes in the context of plant defense.