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Does gut microbiome diversity affect parasite success?

Semester: Summer 2023

Presentation description

Parasites have a very complex relationship with their host, with a specific set of cues needed for successful establishment. Although it is known that the presence or absence of the gut microbiome is one of these cues, it is not known whether the diversity of the gut microbiome plays a role. We compared parasite success in mice with a typical gut microbiome (HI) and a low-diversity gut microbiome (LOW). We measured success by infecting HI and LOW mice with the intestinal roundworm Heligmosomoides bakeri and quantifying fecal egg output, total worm establishment, and worm fecundity. After 40 days of infection, we found no significant effect of microbiome diversity on any metric, but host sex did play a significant role in parasite success for both microbiome types (HI, LOW). The male mice yielded higher fecal egg counts, and hosted worms with higher fecundity showing an overall increase in parasite success, compared to female mice. These results suggest that our LOW microbiome was sufficient for host-parasite recognition, helping further our research of the necessary cues for parasite establishment.

Presenter Name: Anastasia Varela

Presentation Type: Poster
Presentation Format: In Person
Presentation #44
College: Science
School / Department: School of Biological Sciences
Research Mentor: Maggie Doolin
Date | Time: Thursday, Aug 3rd | 10:30 AM