Apr 6, 2020

Primate phageomes are structured by superhost phylogeny and environment

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Archana NagarajanSébastien Calvignac-Spencer


The evolutionary origins of human-associated bacteriophage communities are poorly understood. To address this question, we examined fecal phageomes of 23 wild non-human primate taxa, including multiple representatives of all the major primate radiations, and find relatives of the majority of human-associated phages. Primate taxa have distinct phageome compositions that exhibit a clear phylosymbiotic signal, and phage-superhost co-divergence is detected for 44 individual phages. Within species, neighboring social groups harbor evolutionarily and compositionally distinct phageomes, structured by superhost social behavior. However, captive non-human primate phageomes are more similar to humans than their wild counterparts, revealing replacement of wild-associated phages with human-associated ones. Together, our results suggest that potentially labile primate-phage associations persisted across millions of years of evolution, potentially facilitated by transmission between groupmates.

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