Experimental evidence for adaptation to species-specific gut microbiota in house mice

Andrew H. Moeller, João C. Gomes-Neto, Sara Mantz, Hatem Kittana, Rafael R.Segura Munoz, Robert J. Schmaltz, Amanda E. Ramer-Tait, Michael W. Nachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The gut microbial communities of mammals have codiversified with host species, and changes in the gut microbiota can have profound effects on host fitness. Therefore, the gut microbiota may drive adaptation in mammalian species, but this possibility is underexplored. Here, we show that the gut microbiota has codiversified with mice in the genus Mus over the past ~6 million years, and we present experimental evidence that the gut microbiota has driven adaptive evolution of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus. Phylogenetic analyses of metagenomeassembled bacterial genomic sequences revealed that gut bacterial lineages have been retained within and diversified alongside Mus species over evolutionary time. Transplantation of gut microbiotas from various Mus species into germfree M. m. domesticus showed that foreign gut microbiotas slowed growth rate and upregulated macrophage inflammatory protein in hosts. These results suggest adaptation by M. m. domesticus to its gut microbiota since it diverged from other Mus species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00387-19
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Evolutionary biology
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbial ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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