Metagenomics of South African gut microbiomes reveal a transitional composition and novel taxa
About Dylan Maghini
Dylan is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University in Dr. Ami Bhatt’s laboratory, which focuses on the application and development of new genomic and bioinformatic tools to understand the dynamics of the gut microbiome. Dylan’s focus is on applying nanopore sequencing technology to improve metagenomic microbial genome assembly and resolve circularized bacterial genomes, allowing for discovery of novel taxa and insight into genomic elements that often remain unassembled with short read metagenomic approaches.
Human gut microbiome research largely focuses on populations at the extremes of resource access. We studied the gut microbiome composition of adults in transitional South African communities, and found their microbiomes are intermediate between those of western and previously studied agriculturalist and hunter-gatherer African populations. Additionally, de novo metagenomic assembly of long-read sequencing data yielded genomes of undescribed taxa. Our results suggest that South African gut microbiomes are reflective of diverse lifestyles and contain undescribed microbial diversity. These findings highlight the need to include understudied groups in microbiome research to improve the applicability of microbiome discoveries to broader populations.