Hominid gut microbiomes across Tanzania

Presentation from the Research Group for Genomic Epidemiology – 30 October 2023

The human microbiome has been extensively investigated in the attempt to unravel which bacteria are related to the host's health or disease status. Many factors have been found to affect the composition of our gut microbiome including geography, drug usage, exercise, genetics, hygiene, and diet. Here we investigate a sample set from Tanzania containing feces samples from both chimpanzees and humans with lifestyles differing in many of these aspects.

Through assembly and binning of these samples, we identified 15,146 Near-Complete (NC) Metagenome Assembled Genomes (MAGs), belonging to 1,562 unique MAG species. We found that all Tanzanian samples were richer and more diverse when compared to samples from western countries. Additionally, we found that chimpanzee and human gut microbiomes were distinct in species composition, whereas the distinction between different human lifestyles were found at other taxonic levels.

The methods applied here allowed us to compare the identified genomes at a high resolution, which enabled the identification of differences in the abundance of different Carbohydrate Active Enzyme (CAZy) between lifestyles and furthermore, genomic variation correlating with lifestyle on whole genomes and even within single genes. Taken together, these investigation suggest that if not you, then at least your microbiome are what you eat.

Marie Louise Jespersen’s presentation