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In the field of microbiome research, a group of species is said to show a phylosymbiotic signal if the degree of similarity between the species' microbiomes recapitulates to a significant extent their evolutionary history.[1] In other words, a phylosymbiotic signal among a group of species is evident if their microbiome similarity dendrogram could significantly recapitulate their host's phylogenic tree. For the analysis of the phylosymbiotic signal to be reliable, environmental differences that could shape the host microbiome should be either eliminated or accounted for. One plausible mechanistic explanation for such phenomena could be, for example, a result of host immune genes that rapidly evolve in a continues arms race with members of its microbiome.

In animals[edit]

Across the animal kingdom there are many notable examples of phylosymbiosis. For instance in non-human primates it was found that host evolutionary history had a substantially greater influence on the gut microbiome than either host dietary niche or geographic location.[2] It was speculated that changes in gut physiology along the evolutionary history of non-human primates was the primary reason. This finding was particularly interesting as it contradicted previous research which reported that dietary niche was a strong factor in determining the gut microbiome of mammals.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ W. Brooks, Andrew (November 18, 2016). "Phylosymbiosis: Relationships and Functional Effects of Microbial Communities across Host Evolutionary History". PLOS Biology. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000225.g004.
  2. ^ Leigh, Steven R.; Knight, Rob; Stumpf, Rebecca M.; Nelson, Karen E.; White, Bryan A.; Tecot, Stacey; Sauther, Michelle L.; Link, Andres; Lewis, Rebecca J. (2018-07-11). "Evolutionary trends in host physiology outweigh dietary niche in structuring primate gut microbiomes". The ISME Journal. 13 (3): 576–587. doi:10.1038/s41396-018-0175-0. ISSN 1751-7370. PMID 29995839.
  3. ^ Delsuc, Frédéric; Metcalf, Jessica L.; Wegener Parfrey, Laura; Song, Se Jin; González, Antonio; Knight, Rob (2013-10-07). "Convergence of gut microbiomes in myrmecophagous mammals". Molecular Ecology. 23 (6): 1301–1317. doi:10.1111/mec.12501. ISSN 0962-1083. PMID 24118574.
  4. ^ Gordon, Jeffrey I.; Knight, Rob; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Tucker, Tammy A.; Schlegel, Michael L.; Bircher, J. Stephen; Ramey, Rob Roy; Turnbaugh, Peter J.; Lozupone, Catherine (2008-06-20). "Evolution of Mammals and Their Gut Microbes". Science. 320 (5883): 1647–1651. doi:10.1126/science.1155725. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 2649005. PMID 18497261.
  5. ^ Gordon, Jeffrey I.; Knight, Rob; Henrissat, Bernard; Fontana, Luigi; González, Antonio; Clemente, Jose C.; Knights, Dan; Kuczynski, Justin; Muegge, Brian D. (2011-05-20). "Diet Drives Convergence in Gut Microbiome Functions Across Mammalian Phylogeny and Within Humans". Science. 332 (6032): 970–974. doi:10.1126/science.1198719. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 3303602. PMID 21596990.