Chimpanzees and humans harbour compositionally similar gut enterotypes

Nat Commun. 2012;3:1179. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2159.

Abstract

Microbes inhabiting the human gastrointestinal tract tend to adopt one of three characteristic community structures, called 'enterotypes', each of which is overrepresented by a distinct set of bacterial genera. Here we report that the gut microbiotae of chimpanzees also assort into enterotypes and that these chimpanzee enterotypes are compositionally analogous to those of humans. Through the analysis of longitudinal samples, we show that the microbial signatures of the enterotypes are stable over time, but that individual hosts switch between enterotypes over periods longer than a year. These results support the hypothesis that enterotypic variation was present in populations of great apes before the divergence of humans and chimpanzees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Pan troglodytes / microbiology*
  • Time Factors