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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56565. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056565. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Metagenomic analysis of the pygmy loris fecal microbiome reveals unique functional capacity related to metabolism of aromatic compounds.

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  • 1School of Life Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China.


The animal gastrointestinal tract contains a complex community of microbes, whose composition ultimately reflects the co-evolution of microorganisms with their animal host. An analysis of 78,619 pyrosequencing reads generated from pygmy loris fecal DNA extracts was performed to help better understand the microbial diversity and functional capacity of the pygmy loris gut microbiome. The taxonomic analysis of the metagenomic reads indicated that pygmy loris fecal microbiomes were dominated by Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria phyla. The hierarchical clustering of several gastrointestinal metagenomes demonstrated the similarities of the microbial community structures of pygmy loris and mouse gut systems despite their differences in functional capacity. The comparative analysis of function classification revealed that the metagenome of the pygmy loris was characterized by an overrepresentation of those sequences involved in aromatic compound metabolism compared with humans and other animals. The key enzymes related to the benzoate degradation pathway were identified based on the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway assignment. These results would contribute to the limited body of primate metagenome studies and provide a framework for comparative metagenomic analysis between human and non-human primates, as well as a comparative understanding of the evolution of humans and their microbiome. However, future studies on the metagenome sequencing of pygmy loris and other prosimians regarding the effects of age, genetics, and environment on the composition and activity of the metagenomes are required.

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