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ISME J. 2013 Oct;7(10):1922-32. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2013.86. Epub 2013 May 30.

The inconstant gut microbiota of Drosophila species revealed by 16S rRNA gene analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Entomology, Comstock Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Abstract

The gut microorganisms in some animals are reported to include a core microbiota of consistently associated bacteria that is ecologically distinctive and may have coevolved with the host. The core microbiota is promoted by positive interactions among bacteria, favoring shared persistence; its retention over evolutionary timescales is evident as congruence between host phylogeny and bacterial community composition. This study applied multiple analyses to investigate variation in the composition of gut microbiota in drosophilid flies. First, the prevalence of five previously described gut bacteria (Acetobacter and Lactobacillus species) in individual flies of 21 strains (10 Drosophila species) were determined. Most bacteria were not present in all individuals of most strains, and bacterial species pairs co-occurred in individual flies less frequently than predicted by chance, contrary to expectations of a core microbiota. A complementary pyrosequencing analysis of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from the gut microbiota of 11 Drosophila species identified 209 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs), with near-saturating sampling of sequences, but none of the OTUs was common to all host species. Furthermore, in both of two independent sets of Drosophila species, the gut bacterial community composition was not congruent with host phylogeny. The final analysis identified no common OTUs across three wild and four laboratory samples of D. melanogaster. Our results yielded no consistent evidence for a core microbiota in Drosophila. We conclude that the taxonomic composition of gut microbiota varies widely within and among Drosophila populations and species. This is reminiscent of the patterns of bacterial composition in guts of some other animals, including humans.

PMID:
23719154
PMCID:
PMC3965314
DOI:
10.1038/ismej.2013.86
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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