Blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi), passeriformes, is a critically endangered bird endemic to China. Gut microbiota is well known to play a pivotal role in host health and survival. Thus, the understanding of the microbial communities associated with Garrulax courtoisi could be beneficial to save this species from the brink of extinction. In this study, we used 16 s rDNA amplicon sequencing to investigate the gut community composition and microbial diversity of the Garrulax courtoisi population reared in Nanchang Zoo. The results showed that there were 31 phyla that were dominated by Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Cyanobacteria in the intestine of Garrulax courtoisi. Compared with previous studies on birds, the Cyanobacteria exhibited an excessive abundance, which may be largely related to the personal lifestyle of Garrulax courtoisi. At the genus level, a total of 552 genera were identified, among which, 21 key genera constituted the core microbiome, including some culturable bacterial genera such as Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, and Deinococcus. In the meanwhile, we found that there were remarkable intraspecific differences both in terms of microbial community structures, representative biomarkers and predicted functions between the parental generation and their offspring of the population investigated in this study. Furthermore, we also summarized their different eating behaviors and predicted its association with gut microbiota. This study provided the needed pieces of information about these extremely rare birds, Garrulax courtoisi, whose community composition and microbial diversity are hardly known. Importantly, these findings could contribute to our knowledge of the gut health of Garrulax courtoisi and advance the comprehensive conservation of this endangered bird.
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The raw sequence data used in this manuscript have been deposited in the Genome Sequence Archive in National Genomics Data Center under accession number CRA004355 that are publicly accessible at https://ngdc.cncb.ac.cn/gsa.
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We are grateful to the staff of Nanchang Zoo for their help during the experiment and sampling procedures. We also thank Dr. Bin He for his kind help in revising this manuscript.
This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 31760625) and the Science and Technology Project of Education Department of Jiangxi Province (Grant no. GJJ190581).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the management and utility of experimental animals, and approved by the Ethics Committee of Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University, and all animal manipulations were strictly performed following the relevant laws of China.
Communicated by Martine Collart.
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Wang, C., Li, J., Cheng, Y. et al. Investigation on the characteristics of gut microbiota in critically endangered blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi). Mol Genet Genomics 297, 655–670 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-022-01875-5
- Garrulax courtoisi
- Gut microbiota
- Intraspecific differences
- Eating behaviors
- Population conservation