The role of microbes in heterosis

A recently published study in PNAS, co-authored by Kleiner lab members Clara Tang, Dr. Fernanda Salvato, Ali Bartlett, Dr. Simina Vintila, and Dr. Manuel Kleiner, investigates a potential mechanism for heterosis or ‘hybrid vigor’ – a phenomenon in which the hybrid offspring of two inbred lines outperform their parents. They found that while sterile hybrid plants performed similarly to the inbred parent lines, the heterosis effect was restored when the hybrid plants were inoculated with a simple bacterial community – this suggests that heterosis may be microbe-dependent.

This was a collaboration with Dr. Maggie Wagner, Kayla Clouse, Laura Phillips, Shannon Sermons, Dr. Mark Hoffmann, and Dr. Peter Balint-Kurti.

Full press releases can be found here and here.