PerspectiveMicrobiology

Animal Behavior and the Microbiome

Science  12 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6104, pp. 198-199
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227412

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Summary

Human bodies house trillions of symbiotic microorganisms. The genes in this human microbiome outnumber human genes by 100 to 1, and their study is providing profound insights into human health. But humans are not the only animals with microbiomes, and microbiomes do not just impact health. Recent research is revealing surprising roles for microbiomes in shaping behaviors across many animal taxa—shedding light on how behaviors from diet to social interactions affect the composition of host-associated microbial communities (1, 2), and how microbes in turn influence host behavior in dramatic ways (26).