Population structure of human gut bacteria in a diverse cohort from rural Tanzania and Botswana.

Genome Biol 2019 01 22;20(1):16. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Department of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Background: Gut microbiota from individuals in rural, non-industrialized societies differ from those in individuals from industrialized societies. Here, we use 16S rRNA sequencing to survey the gut bacteria of seven non-industrialized populations from Tanzania and Botswana. These include populations practicing traditional hunter-gatherer, pastoralist, and agropastoralist subsistence lifestyles and a comparative urban cohort from the greater Philadelphia region.

Results: We find that bacterial diversity per individual and within-population phylogenetic dissimilarity differs between Botswanan and Tanzanian populations, with Tanzania generally having higher diversity per individual and lower dissimilarity between individuals. Among subsistence groups, the gut bacteria of hunter-gatherers are phylogenetically distinct from both agropastoralists and pastoralists, but that of agropastoralists and pastoralists were not significantly different from each other. Nearly half of the Bantu-speaking agropastoralists from Botswana have gut bacteria that are very similar to the Philadelphian cohort. Based on imputed metagenomic content, US samples have a relative enrichment of genes found in pathways for degradation of several common industrial pollutants. Within two African populations, we find evidence that bacterial composition correlates with the genetic relatedness between individuals.

Conclusions: Across the cohort, similarity in bacterial presence/absence compositions between people increases with both geographic proximity and genetic relatedness, while abundance weighted bacterial composition varies more significantly with geographic proximity than with genetic relatedness.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-018-1616-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341659PMC
January 2019
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