Zoological monkeys are similar to human intestinal bacteria

A new study led by the University of Minnesota shows that monkeys in captivity1 lose much of their native gut2 bacteria diversity and their gut bacteria ends up resembling those of humans. The results suggest that switching to a low-fiber3, Western diet may have the power to deplete4 most normal primate5 gut microbes in favor of a less diverse set of bacteria. The study was published in the most recent issue of the Proceedings6 of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a leading scientific journal.
The microbiome (or gut bacteria) has been tied to a wide variety of medical conditions from autism to obesity7. The lack of fiber in modern Western diets is often thought to cause harmful perturbations to the human gut microbiome. However, the causes and consequences of how the gut bacteria of humans changes as societies become modernized8 and westernized is still a mystery because there are too many variables when studying humans nu skin.

To better understand how changes in diet, lifestyle, and exposure to modern medicine affect primates9′ guts10, a team of researchers led by University of Minnesota computer science and engineering professor Dan Knights11, veterinary medicine professor Tim Johnson, and veterinary medicine Ph.D. student Jonathan Clayton, used DNA12 sequencing to study the gut microbes of multiple non-human primates species in the wild and in captivity as a model for studying the effects of emigration and lifestyle changes.

The researchers studied two different species: the highly endangered red-shanked douc and the mantled13 howler monkey. The authors then compared the captive primate microbiomes to the microbiomes of their wild counterparts and to those of modern humans living in developing nations and in the United States nuskin.

What they found could be considered alarming. Not only did captive monkeys lose most of their natural wild gut bacteria, but they very consistently all acquired the same new and less diverse set of bacteria–the same bacteria living in our own modern human guts. Across several different zoos on three different continents, all captive primate microbiomes showed the same pattern of converging14 toward the modern human microbiome nuskin hk.

“We don’t know for certain that these new modern human microbes are bad, but on the other hand many studies are now showing that we evolved together with our resident microbes,” said Knights. “If that is the case, then it is likely not beneficial to swap15 them out for a totally different set.”

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