Does Host Physiology Influence The Gut Microbiome?

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ENVS-627 – MOLECULAR ECOLOGY LAB
PROJECT PROPOSAL
APOORVA BABU (12517215)
Does host physiology influence the gut microbiome
Introduction
Symbiosis is defined as the physical interaction between two different organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship. In other words, it is the coexistence of two different species in an environment where the existence of one benefits the other. Several studies have been performed on different species but the gut microbiome is probably one of the most extensively studied examples of a symbiotic relationship. The gut microbiome, also known as the gut flora, is an ensemble of microorganisms that exist in the gut and help in the digestion process of the organism in which it exists. The gut microbiome evolves in the gut throughout the lifecycle of the organism and is altered by several environmental factors. Its composition is unique to every individual and any loss of balance in them may result in health problems.
Apart from environmental factors, the microbiome composition also relies on the diet of the hosts. Studies have shown that host lineages that share a similar gut physiology and diet tend to have the same gut microbiome [1]. These studies were initially performed on apes to study their phylogeny. However, due to the complexity and the diversity of the mammalian gut microbes, the studies were more focused on insects like flies, beetles and ants [1].
Cephalotes varians, commonly known as the ‘turtle ants’ provide an interesting

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