Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania

Smits SA, Leach J, Sonnenburg ED, Gonzalez CG, Lichtman JS, Reid G, Knight R, Manjurano A, Changalucha J, Elias JE, Dominguez-Bello MG, Sonnenburg JL (2017) Science.  2017 Aug;357(6353): 802-806. doi: 10.1126/science.aan4834. 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


Although humans have cospeciated with their gut-resident microbes, it is difficult to infer features of our ancestral microbiome. Here, we examine the microbiome profile of 350 stool samples collected longitudinally for more than a year from the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania.

The data reveal annual cyclic reconfiguration of the microbiome, in which some taxa become undetectable only to reappear in a subsequent season. Comparison of the Hadza data set with data collected from 18 populations in 16 countries with varying lifestyles reveals that gut community membership corresponds to modernization: Notably, the taxa within the Hadza that are the most seasonally volatile similarly differentiate industrialized and traditional populations.

These data indicate that some dynamic lineages of microbes have decreased in prevalence and abundance in modernized populations.


See the associated news story: