Common Gut Microbes in Lemurs and Pandas

It is well known that Lemurs and Pandas are distinguished by millions of years of evolution. These species are broadly diverse from one another. Lemurs are primates, red pandas are related to raccoons, and pandas are related to bears. These species are also widely separated by their geographical locations. The only similarity between them is the exclusive presence of bamboo in their diets.

Despite these dissimilarities a study has found that there are about a total of 48 gut microbes that commonly exist in both the bamboo-eating lemurs and giant pandas, red pandas. This count is more than 12 percent of the microbial types that are found in the gut of each of these species. This study has been conducted by the North Carolina State University, the Smithsonian and Duke University. In order to determine this similarity of gut microbes the researchers collected the samples of feces of bamboo lemurs at Duke Lemur Center; giant pandas at the National Zoo; and red pandas at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The researchers strived to represent the full diversity of the gut microbiome for each species. They did it by running 100,000 genetic sequences per sample. The researchers further made a distinction between the gut microbiome of the bamboo lemur to that of the closely related ringtail lemur but concluded that only 4 microbes were common. Therefore, it can be inferred that diet plays a major role in governing that what lives inside the gut.

By: Anuja Arora



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