Associations Between Nutrition, Gut Microbiome, and Health in A Novel Nonhuman Primate Model

Jonathan B Clayton, Gabriel A. Al-Ghalith, Ha Thang Long, Bui Van Tuan, Francis Cabana, Hu Huang, Pajau Vangay, Tonya Ward, Vo Van Minh, Nguyen Ai Tam, Nguyen Tat Dat, Dominic A. Travis, Michael P Murtaugh, Herbert Covert, Kenneth E. Glander, Tilo Nadler, Barbara Toddes, John C.M. Sha, Randall S. Singer, Dan KnightsTimothy J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Red-shanked doucs (Pygathrix nemaeus) are endangered, foregut-fermenting colobine primates which are difficult to maintain in captivity. There are critical gaps in our understanding of their natural dietary habits including consumption of leaves, unripe fruit, flowers, seeds, and other plant parts. There is also a lack of understanding of enteric adaptations, including their unique microflora. To address these knowledge gaps, we used the douc as a model to study relationships between gastrointestinal microbial community structure, diet, and health. We analyzed published fecal samples as well as detailed dietary history from doucs with four distinct lifestyles (wild, semi-wild, semi-captive, and captive) and determined gastrointestinal bacterial microbiome composition using 16S rRNA sequencing. A clear gradient of microbiome composition was revealed along an axis of natural lifestyle disruption, including significant associations with diet, health, biodiversity, and microbial function. We identified potential microbial biomarkers of douc dysbiosis, including Bacteroides and Prevotella. Our results suggest a gradient-like shift in captivity causes an attendant shift to severe gut dysbiosis, thereby resulting in gastrointestinal issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Aug 17 2017


  • Captivity
  • Colobine
  • Diet
  • Health
  • Microbiome
  • Primate

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