Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes

  • Author(s): Obregon-Tito, AJ
  • Tito, RY
  • Metcalf, J
  • Sankaranarayanan, K
  • Clemente, JC
  • Ursell, LK
  • Zech Xu, Z
  • Van Treuren, W
  • Knight, R
  • Gaffney, PM
  • Spicer, P
  • Lawson, P
  • Marin-Reyes, L
  • Trujillo-Villarroel, O
  • Foster, M
  • Guija-Poma, E
  • Troncoso-Corzo, L
  • Warinner, C
  • Ozga, AT
  • Lewis, CM
  • et al.

© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. 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.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View