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Gut Microbiota enabled Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) to Adapt to Seasonal Changes

Gut Microbiota enabled Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) to Adapt to Seasonal Changes

Wen Qin1,2, YanGan Huang1, Lei Wang1, Gonghua Lin1, Jundong Yang1,2, Pengfei Song1,2, Hongmei Gao1,2, Jingjie Zhang1,2 and Tongzuo Zhang1,3,*

1Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810001, No. 23 Xinning Road, Chengxi District, Xining, Qinghai Province, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Qinghai Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Ecological Genomics, Xining 810001, Qinghai Province, China

*      Corresponding author:


Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) mainly live in arid and semi-arid environments. In Qinghai Province, goitered gazelle are found only in the Qaidam Basin, which shows pronounced seasonal changes ranging from cold, dry winters to short, hot summers. The gut microbiota plays a very important role in host health, immunity, and digestion. Therefore, seasonal changes in gut microbiota can affect host digestion and metabolism in ways that help the host adapt to different forage conditions. Understanding the relationship between seasonal variations in the gut microbiota and host adaptability is a good basis for the protection of the goitered gazelle. Here, we present our findings on the diversity of the gut microbiota in fecal samples from wild goitered gazelle from Qiadam Basin, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which are the first such data to be reported. A total of 25 phyla were found, of which the dominant phyla are Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in both summer and winter, representing more than 90% of the overall relative abundance. Diet is a key factor in shaping the gut microbiota. Because of large differences in host diet between summer and winter, there are significant differences in microbiota community structures according to Amova (SS=0.3871; MS=0.387; Fs=6.856; P<0.001**). In winter, goitered gazelle must face cold weather as well as shortages in water and forage. To survive in a harsh environment, the relative abundance of Bacteroides, which enhances host metabolism of saccharides, increases significantly. In addition, water reabsorption was also significantly enhanced, which helps the goitered gazelles avoid dehydration in winter.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology


Vol. 54, Iss. 4, Pages 1501-2001


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