Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes: captivity changes the gut microbiota composition and diversity in a social subterranean rodent.

Bensch HM, Tolf C, Waldenström J, Lundin D, Zöttl M

Anim Microbiome 5 (1) 9 [2023-02-10; online 2023-02-10]

In mammals, the gut microbiota has important effects on the health of their hosts. Recent research highlights that animal populations that live in captivity often differ in microbiota diversity and composition from wild populations. However, the changes that may occur when animals move to captivity remain difficult to predict and factors generating such differences are poorly understood. Here we compare the bacterial gut microbiota of wild and captive Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis) originating from a population in the southern Kalahari Desert to characterise the changes of the gut microbiota that occur from one generation to the next generation in a long-lived, social rodent species. We found a clear divergence in the composition of the gut microbiota of captive and wild Damaraland mole-rats. Although the dominating higher-rank bacterial taxa were the same in the two groups, captive animals had an increased ratio of relative abundance of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes compared to wild animals. The Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs) that were strongly associated with wild animals were commonly members of the same bacterial families as those strongly associated with captive animals. Captive animals had much higher ASV richness compared to wild-caught animals, explained by an increased richness within the Firmicutes. We found that the gut microbiota of captive hosts differs substantially from the gut microbiota composition of wild hosts. The largest differences between the two groups were found in shifts in relative abundances and diversity of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes.

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NGI Uppsala (SNP&SEQ Technology Platform) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

PubMed 36765400

DOI 10.1186/s42523-023-00231-1

Crossref 10.1186/s42523-023-00231-1

pmc: PMC9912604
pii: 10.1186/s42523-023-00231-1

Publications 9.5.0