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Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes
Nature Communications
  • Alexandra J. Obregon-Tito, University of Oklahoma; Universidad Científica del Sur; City of Hope, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Raul Y. Tito, University of Oklahoma; Universidad Científica del Sur
  • Jessica Metcalf, University of Colorado
  • Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan, University of Oklahoma
  • Jose C. Clemente, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Luke K. Ursell, University of Colorado
  • Zhenjiang Zech Xu, University of Colorado
  • Will Van Treuren, University of Colorado
  • Rob Knight, University of California - San Diego
  • Patrick M. Gaffney, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
  • Paul Spicer, University of Oklahoma
  • Paul Lawson, University of Oklahoma
  • Luis Marin-Reyes, Instituto Nacional de Salud
  • Omar Trujillo-Villarroel, Instituto Nacional de Salud
  • Morris Foster, Old Dominion University
  • Emilio Guija-Poma, Universidad Científica del Sur
  • Luzmila Troncoso-Corzo, Universidad Científica del Sur
  • Christina Warinner, University of Oklahoma
  • Andrew T. Ozga, University of Oklahoma
  • Cecil M. Lewis, Jr., University of Oklahoma
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Biodiversity,
  • Microbiome,
  • Symbiosis,
  • Urban ecology

Recent studies suggest that gut microbiomes of urban-industrialized societies are different from those of traditional peoples. Here we examine the relationship between lifeways and gut microbiota through taxonomic and functional potential characterization of faecal samples from hunter-gatherer and traditional agriculturalist communities in Peru and an urban-industrialized community from the US. We find that in addition to taxonomic and metabolic differences between urban and traditional lifestyles, hunter-gatherers form a distinct sub-group among traditional peoples. As observed in previous studies, we find that Treponema are characteristic of traditional gut microbiomes. Moreover, through genome reconstruction (2.2–2.5 MB, coverage depth × 26–513) and functional potential characterization, we discover these Treponema are diverse, fall outside of pathogenic clades and are similar to Treponema succinifaciens, a known carbohydrate metabolizer in swine. Gut Treponema are found in non-human primates and all traditional peoples studied to date, suggesting they are symbionts lost in urban-industrialized societies.


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Citation Information
Alexandra J. Obregon-Tito, Raul Y. Tito, Jessica Metcalf, Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan, et al.. "Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes" Nature Communications Vol. 6 Iss. 6505 (2015) p. 1 - 9 ISSN: 2041-1723
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