Host diet shapes functionally differentiated gut microbiomes in sympatric speciation of blind mole rats in Upper Galilee, Israel

Zhuoran Kuang, Fang Li, Qijiao Duan, Cuicui Tian, Eviatar Nevo, Kexin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The gut microbiome is important for host nutrient metabolism and ecological adaptation. However, how the gut microbiome is affected by host phylogeny, ecology and diet during sympatric speciation remain unclear. Here, we compare and contrast the gut microbiome of two sympatric blind mole rat species and correlate them with their corresponding host phylogeny, ecology soil metagenomes, and diet to determine how these factors may influence their gut microbiome. Our results indicate that within the host microbiome there is no significant difference in community composition, but the functions between the two sympatric species populations vary significantly. No significant correlations were found between the gut microbiome differentiation and their corresponding ecological soil metagenomes and host phylogeny. Functional enrichment analysis suggests that the host diets may account for the functional divergence of the gut microbiome. Our results will help us understand how the gut microbiome changes with corresponding ecological dietary factors in sympatric speciation of blind subterranean mole rats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1062763
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32271691 and 32071487), National Key Research and Development Programs of China (2021YFD1200901), Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of Gansu Province (21JR7RA533), Lanzhou University’s “Double First-Class” Guided Project-Team Building Funding-Research Startup Fee for KL, Chang Jiang Scholars Program, The Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities, LZU (lzujbky-2021-ey17), a grant from State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems (Lanzhou University; Grant Numbers: SKLGAE-202001, 202009, and 202010), Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetic and Molecular Evolution for its constant financial support for supporting Spalax research Program. We received support for computational work from the Big Data Computing Platform for Western Ecological Environment and Regional Development and Supercomputing Center of Lanzhou University.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Kuang, Li, Duan, Tian, Nevo and Li.


  • host diet
  • metagenomics
  • microbiome community
  • subterranean mammals
  • sympatric speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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