Plant genetic diversity affects multiple trophic levels and trophic interactions

Nian Feng Wan, Liwan Fu, Matteo Dainese, Yue Qing Hu, Lars Pødenphant Kiær, Forest Isbell, Christoph Scherber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Intraspecific genetic diversity is an important component of biodiversity. A substantial body of evidence has demonstrated positive effects of plant genetic diversity on plant performance. However, it has remained unclear whether plant genetic diversity generally increases plant performance by reducing the pressure of plant antagonists across trophic levels for different plant life forms, ecosystems and climatic zones. Here, we analyse 4702 effect sizes reported in 413 studies that consider effects of plant genetic diversity on trophic groups and their interactions. We found that that increasing plant genetic diversity decreased the performance of plant antagonists including invertebrate herbivores, weeds, plant-feeding nematodes and plant diseases, while increasing the performance of plants and natural enemies of herbivores. Structural equation modelling indicated that plant genetic diversity increased plant performance partly by reducing plant antagonist pressure. These results reveal that plant genetic diversity often influences multiple trophic levels in ways that enhance natural pest control in managed ecosystems and consumer control of plants in natural ecosystems for sustainable plant production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7312
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank all of the researchers whose data and work have been included in this meta-analysis, and Professor Bo Li, Jihua Wu, Xiaoqi Zhou, Ming Nie and Zhijie Zhang for providing useful help. N.F.W. was supported by the Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Action Plan from Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Commission of China (22015821000) and National Ten Thousand Plan-Young Top Talents of China, Y.Q.H. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11971117), and L.F. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (82204063).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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