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Vet Microbiol. 2015 Jun 12;177(3-4):242-51. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.03.014. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

The pig gut microbial diversity: Understanding the pig gut microbial ecology through the next generation high throughput sequencing.

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Department of Animal Resources Science, Dankook University, Dandae-ro 119, Cheonan, South Korea. Electronic address:
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, University of Minnesota, 1971 Commonwealth Ave., Saint Paul, USA. Electronic address:


The importance of the gut microbiota of animals is widely acknowledged because of its pivotal roles in the health and well being of animals. The genetic diversity of the gut microbiota contributes to the overall development and metabolic needs of the animal, and provides the host with many beneficial functions including production of volatile fatty acids, re-cycling of bile salts, production of vitamin K, cellulose digestion, and development of immune system. Thus the intestinal microbiota of animals has been the subject of study for many decades. Although most of the older studies have used culture dependent methods, the recent advent of high throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes has facilitated in depth studies exploring microbial populations and their dynamics in the animal gut. These culture independent DNA based studies generate large amounts of data and as a result contribute to a more detailed understanding of the microbiota dynamics in the gut and the ecology of the microbial populations. Of equal importance, is being able to identify and quantify microbes that are difficult to grow or that have not been grown in the laboratory. Interpreting the data obtained from this type of study requires using basic principles of microbial diversity to understand importance of the composition of microbial populations. In this review, we summarize the literature on culture independent studies of the pig gut microbiota with an emphasis on its succession and alterations caused by diverse factors.


16S rRNA gene; Microbial diversity; Microbiota; Swine gut microbiota

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