Hand, Daniel (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The mammalian gut microbiota is an essential factor in intestinal function and thus overall health. In the post genomic era, culture independent studies into the gut microbiota, particularly that of humans have allowed great leaps forward in knowledge of a once cryptic ecosystem. Furthermore, recent advances in sequencing technologies have allowed acceleration and broadening of work in this research field. Despite this, the canine gut microbiome has remained relatively uncharacterised. This work investigates the faecal microbiota of a diverse multi-breed and multi-location group of 79 dogs, by amplifying and sequencing the 16S rDNA from these dogs using both Sanger sequencing of clone libraries and high throughput pyrosequencing. A robust census of the canine faecal microbiota was undertaken. The most abundant genera were the Bacteroides, Prevotella, Cetobacterium, Fusobacterium, Sutterella and Megamonas. A limited core microbiome was defined in 90% of the study population; this represented less than 0.5% of richness but more than 37.4% of abundance. Influences of host sex, diet and age were investigated but were found not significant. Some evidence was found for breed associated richness differences, most marked in Labrador retrievers and miniature Schnauzers. Furthermore, the microbiota of the Labradors appeared to cluster separately from the other breeds.
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