Determinants of the Adult Microbiome: Kinship, Dispersal, and Social Relationships
AuthorDiakiw, Laura Oksana
AdvisorTecot, Stacey R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrimates who disperse from their natal group may shape their adult stable gut microbiome through physical contact and shared environments with their new group members. However, it is possible that individuals retain the dominant microbiome composition that they developed as an infant in their natal group even after joining their new group, due to a combination of genetic inheritance and exposure to their natal group environment. Microbial exposure during early life, before an immune system has been developed, can exert strong selection on a developing individual, in effect creating a selection bottleneck. Therefore, the environmental signals transmitted from mother to infant are critical in developing an infant’s immunocompetence. Determining what adaptations take place in an individual’s gut microbiota during their life could help determine the maternal importance of gut microbe transmissions which may be essential to the evolutionary success of a species. We studied Eulemur rubriventer (red-bellied lemurs) who live in family groups. We tested whether individuals now living in different social groups as adults overlap in microbe composition, and if areas of overlap are distinct compared with unrelated individuals. We also tested whether the gut microbiomes of co-residents (dispersed adult group-mates) would be more similar than that of individuals living in different groups. Using census and genetic data, we determined the social group membership and relatedness of 15 individuals in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Quantitative real-time PCR and Microbial 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing indicated that E. rubriventer kinship accounted for just 2.4% of variability in gut microbiome diversity. Our findings indicate that host adult social group explained 25% of the variation in composition of E. rubriventer microbiomes. Additional research incorporating an increased sample size to include additional kin dyads is necessary to fully understand the influence of genetic kinship and early life colonization on the GI microbiome. If initial microbial colonizing species are retained in adults, this demonstrates that early life colonization can persist through adulthood and perhaps preserve important microbial species across larger evolutionary time scales.
Degree ProgramGraduate College