The social butterfly effect

Social interactions affect your microbiome (at least if you’re a chimp)

Like Comment

Social interaction between chimps increases their gut microbiome richness and homogenises gut communities between different animals, report Andrew Moeller and colleagues in this month’s issue of Science Advances.

In a study spanning 8 years, Moeller et al coupled behavioural and gut microbiome samples from 40 Kasekela chimpanzees in Tanzania. Infants appear to inherit their gut microbial communities from social interactions; this between-individual similarity indicates that social behaviour can shape the pan-microbiome, allowing host species-specific evolution of gut microbial communities.

So, perhaps being a social butterfly is actually good for your gut – let’s get out there socialise!

Heidi Burdett

Editor, Nature Microbiology

No comments yet.