The Evolution of Primate Gut Microbiota: implications for human and non-human primate health and disease

Abstract

Mucosal surfaces in vertebrates are heavily colonised by bacteria and it is rapidly emerging that the gut bacterial microbiota has important functions in humans such as controlling body energetics and immunity [1]. However, almost nothing is known about the evolutionary history of gut microbiota, the factors which influence host and bacterial colonisation, or the evolution of the mechanisms of colonization [2]. To begin to address these issues this PhD will use high throughput sequencing of faecal contents from captive and wild primate taxa to explore primate gut microbiota diversity, evolution.

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References:
[1]

McFall-Ngai M, Henderson B and Ruby EG (2005) The Influence of Cooperative Bacteria on Animal-Host Biology. Cambridge University Press.

[2]

Wilson M (2008) Bacteriology of Humans. Blackwell.

[3]

Ley RE, Hamady M, Lozupone C, Turnbaugh PJ, Ramey RR, Bircher JS, Schlegel ML, Tucker TA, Schrenzel MD, Knight R and Gordon JI (2008) Evolution of mammals and their gut microbes. Science 320:1647-1651.

[4]

Chatterjee HJ, Ho SYW, Barnes I and Groves C (2009). Estimating the phylogeny and divergence times of primates using a supertree approach. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9, 259. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-259.


Biological Areas:

Microbiology
Evolution

BBSRC Area:

Animal disease, health and welfare