Genotype Is a Stronger Determinant than Sex of the Mouse Gut Microbiota

Amir Kovacs, Noa Ben-Jacob, Hanna Tayem, Eran Halperin, Fuad A. Iraqi, Uri Gophna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


The mammalian gut microbiota is considered to be determined mostly by diet, while the effect of genotype is still controversial. Here, we examined the effect of genotype on the gut microbiota in normal populations, exhibiting only natural polymorphisms, and evaluated this effect in comparison to the effect of sex. DNA fingerprinting approaches were used to profile the gut microbiota of eight different recombinant inbred mouse lines of the collaborative cross consortium, whose level of genetic diversity mimics that of a natural human population. Analyses based on automated ribosomal internal transcribed spacer analysis demonstrated significant higher similarity of the gut microbiota composition within mouse lines than between them or within same-gender groups. Thus, genetic background significantly impacts the microbiota composition and is a stronger determinant than gender. These findings imply that genetic polymorphisms help shape the intestinal microbiota of mammals and consequently could affect host susceptibility to diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-428
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


FundersFunder number
Kurt Lion Foundation
National Science Foundation
James S. McDonnell Foundation
Wellcome Trust
Israel Science Foundation
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Health, State of Israel


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