Seminars, events & talks

Wednesday, 25th September, 2013, 11:00

Gut microbiotas in evolutionary studies: insights from cichlid fishes

With the advent of HT sequencing technologies we have just begun unveiling the genetic and functional diversity of gut microbial consortia, as well as their role in animal evolution. How does the gut microbiota evolve along the host lineages? Can the microbiota be considered as an inherited trait? And if so, is the microbiota a simple mirror or also a driver of the host evolution?

Both diet and host phylogeny are shown as crucial predictors of microbiota features, while the relative contribution of these two factors in recapitulating microbial communities relationships is currently under debate. Therefore closely related species that show a large differentiation of feeding habits represent an especially interesting system to investigate microbiota dynamics in response to concurrent host legacy constraints and selective pressures for rapid adaptation to different diet.

We are currently exploring specificity and dynamics of the gut microbiota in East African Cichlid fishes, which represent a large group of closely related species that underwent a spectacular dietary niche radiation. We recently profiled the gut microbiota of a young tribe of cichlids from lake Tanganyika that transitioned from a generalist feeding to a highly specialized diet primarily based on scales. How did the gut microbiota respond to such diet transition?

Speaker: Laura Baldo - Evolutionary Genomics. Biomedical Informatics, GRIB (IMIM - UPF)

Room Aula (473.10)

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