Diversity and functional landscapes in the microbiota of animals in the wild

Doron Levin, Neta Raab, Yishay Pinto, Daphna Rothschild, Gal Zanir, Anastasia Godneva, Nadav Mellul, David Futorian, Doran Gal, Sigal Leviatan, Eran Segal, David Zeevi, Ido Bachelet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animals in the wild are able to subsist on pathogen-infected and poisonous food and show immunity to various diseases. These may be due to their microbiota, yet we have a poor understanding of animal microbial diversity and function. We used metagenomics to analyze the gut microbiota of more than 180 species in the wild, covering diverse classes, feeding behaviors, geographies, and traits. Using de novo metagenome assembly, we constructed and functionally annotated a database of more than 5000 genomes, comprising 1209 bacterial species of which 75% are unknown. The microbial composition, diversity, and functional content exhibit associations with animal taxonomy, diet, activity, social structure, and life span. We identify the gut microbiota of wild animals as a largely untapped resource for the discovery of therapeutics and biotechnology applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabb5352
Issue number6539
Early online date25 Mar 2021
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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