Quick post: Drosophila Genotype Influences Commensal Bacterial Levels in Lab Reared Flies

Just a quick post here.  This is an interesting paper on how genotype of Drosophila influences their microbiome. As a side story – I think flies could become an interesting and useful model for studying how the built environment (e.g., vials, cages, food, etc) influence microbiomes.

Host genotype can influence the composition of the commensal bacterial community in some organisms. Composition, however, is only one parameter describing a microbial community. Here, we test whether a second parameter—abundance of bacteria—is a heritable trait by quantifying the presence of four commensal bacterial strains within 36 gnotobiotic inbred lines of Drosophila melanogaster. We find that D. melanogaster genotype exerts a significant effect on microbial levels within the fly. When introduced as monocultures into axenic flies, three of the four bacterial strains were reliably detected within the fly. The amounts of these different strains are strongly correlated, suggesting that the host regulates commensal bacteria through general, not bacteria-specific, means. While the correlation does not appear to be driven by simple variation in overall gut dimensions, a genetic association study suggests that variation in commensal bacterial load may largely be attributed to physical aspects of host cell growth and development.

Source: Drosophila Genotype Influences Commensal Bacterial Levels

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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.