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Network analysis of gut microbiota literature: an overview of the research landscape in non-human animal studies

Pascoe, Emily L. ORCID:, Hauffe, Heidi C., Marchesi, Julian R. ORCID: and Perkins, Sarah E. ORCID: 2017. Network analysis of gut microbiota literature: an overview of the research landscape in non-human animal studies. ISME Journal 11 (12) , pp. 2644-2651. 10.1038/ismej.2017.133

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A wealth of human studies have demonstrated the importance of gut microbiota to health. Research on non-human animal gut microbiota is now increasing, but what insight does it provide? We reviewed 650 publications from this burgeoning field (2009–2016) and determined that animals driving this research were predominantly ‘domestic’ (48.2%), followed by ‘model’ (37.5%), with least studies on ‘wild’ (14.3%) animals. Domestic studies largely experimentally perturbed microbiota (81.8%) and studied mammals (47.9%), often to improve animal productivity. Perturbation was also frequently applied to model animals (87.7%), mainly mammals (88.1%), for forward translation of outcomes to human health. In contrast, wild animals largely characterised natural, unperturbed microbiota (79.6%), particularly in pest or pathogen vectoring insects (42.5%). We used network analyses to compare the research foci of each animal group: ‘diet’ was the main focus in all three, but to different ends: to enhance animal production (domestic), to study non-infectious diseases (model), or to understand microbiota composition (wild). Network metrics quantified model animal studies as the most interdisciplinary, while wild animals incorporated the fewest disciplines. Overall, animal studies, especially model and domestic, cover a broad array of research. Wild animals, however, are the least investigated, but offer under-exploited opportunities to study ‘real-life’ microbiota.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: microbial ecology, microbiodiversity, microbiome, network theory, wildlife
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 1751-7362
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 June 2017
Date of Acceptance: 30 May 2017
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2023 11:32

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