Be sociable increases the diversity of microbes in chimpanzees

The number of species of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of the chimpanzees increases the more gregarious and sociable are, in the light of a several U.S. universities research published in Science Advances. The study authors controlled changes in intestinal microbes and the social behavior of these animals in freedom for more than 8 years in the National Park of Gombe, Tanzania. Among other things, they detected that the folds of the intestines are home to hundreds of species of bacteria and other microbes that help break down food, synthesize vitamins, train the immune system and fight infections. In fact, the decline in intestinal microbial diversity in human beings has been linked to obesity, diabetes, Crohn's disease and other disorders.

Andrew Moeller, researcher at the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of the study, believes that "the more diverse is the Microbiome of people, more resistant they are to infections". The same is true with chimpanzees, whose bacterial DNA in feces collected from 40 specimens between 2000 and 2008 of various ages – from youth to adults – was studied by the researchers. As well, we identified thousands of species of bacteria that thrive in the bowels of the primates, many of whom are also often in humans, such as the Olsenella and Prevotella. Then collated microbial data with daily records of what the animal ate and the time they spent with other chimps and solitude. The researchers found that these monkeys tend to spend more time together during the rainy season, when food is plentiful. On the other hand, in the dry season, they spend more time alone.

The researchers saw that chimpanzees were between 20 and 25% more species of bacteria during the social season of rains that during the dry season, and found that differences in the Microbiome is not due only to seasonal changes in the fruit, leaves and insects that make up their diet, but the solitary lifestyles or relations were also influenced. Intestinal bacteria probably passed from chimpanzee to chimpanzee for the toilet, mating or other forms of physical contact or when not wanting to tread where other chimps have defecated, according to Anne Pusey, President of the Department of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University.

The mixture of bacteria in the intestines of the animals was so similar between unrelated individuals between mothers and children, which is surprising because the hatchlings collected their first microbiomas of her mother when they pass through the birth canal, which suggests that throughout life, social interactions with other chimps involved both in the intestinal microbial diversity as the initial contagion through the mother. Scientists still do not know if social contact helps maintain intestinal Microbiome diversity in human beings but are in it. "One of the reasons why we started studying the Microbiome of chimpanzees was that it allows us to do research that even we cannot do with people," notes the study co-author, Howard Ochman, of the University of Texas at Austin.

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