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A Unified Catalog of 19,251 Non-human Reference Species Genomes Provides New Insights into the Mammalian Gut Microbiomes

By Xiaoping Li, Chen Tian, Daohua Zhuang, Liu Tian, Xingwei Shi, Liyan Bai, Han Gao, Hong Zhou, Fangfang Zhao, Min Dai, Lei Zhu, Qunfu Wu, Xiaotong Liu, Tao Zhang, Jianan Sang, Sunil Kumar Sahu, Xun Xu, Huijue Jia, Huan Liu, Liang Xiao, Karsten Kristiansen, Zhigang Zhang

Posted 16 May 2022
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2022.05.16.491731

The gut microbiota is essential for host health and survival. Here, using samples from animals living in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, we recovered 119,568 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) that were clustered into 19,251 species-level genome bins (SGBs) of which most represent novel species. We present a novel mechanism shaping mammalian gut microbiomes using ancestral founder bacteria (AFB) as a core skeleton and recurring lineage-specific gains of microbial species that are transferred frequently among multiple hosts, not strictly limited by host phylogeny. Such lineage specific gains are responsible for increasing gut microbial diversity, maintaining functional stability, and endowing specific functions for host adaptions. Our analyses did not support the existence of co-phylogeny or co-speciation events between mammal hosts and their individual gut symbionts. The results presented in this study not only reveal novel unique gut microbial species and offer insight of value for understanding the diversity, stability, functionality of the mammalian gut microbiomes, and the co-evolution with their hosts, but also emphasize that animals living in extreme environments are a promising resource for the discovery of novel biological functions.

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