Gut microbiome heritability is nearly universal but environmentally contingent.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Relatives have more similar gut microbiomes than nonrelatives, but the degree to which this similarity results from shared genotypes versus shared environments has been controversial. Here, we leveraged 16,234 gut microbiome profiles, collected over 14 years from 585 wild baboons, to reveal that host genetic effects on the gut microbiome are nearly universal. Controlling for diet, age, and socioecological variation, 97% of microbiome phenotypes were significantly heritable, including several reported as heritable in humans. Heritability was typically low (mean = 0.068) but was systematically greater in the dry season, with low diet diversity, and in older hosts. We show that longitudinal profiles and large sample sizes are crucial to quantifying microbiome heritability, and indicate scope for selection on microbiome characteristics as a host phenotype.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Grieneisen, L; Dasari, M; Gould, TJ; Björk, JR; Grenier, J-C; Yotova, V; Jansen, D; Gottel, N; Gordon, JB; Learn, NH; Gesquiere, LR; Wango, TL; Mututua, RS; Warutere, JK; Siodi, L; Gilbert, JA; Barreiro, LB; Alberts, SC; Tung, J; Archie, EA; Blekhman, R

Published Date

  • July 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 373 / 6551

Start / End Page

  • 181 - 186

PubMed ID

  • 34244407

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8377764

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.aba5483


  • eng