Halmos Faculty Publishes Microbiome Article in Nature Scientific Reports

This November, Halmos biological sciences faculty member Andrew Ozga, Ph.D. was lead author in a paper entitled, “Oral microbiome diversity in chimpanzees from Gombe National Park”. This research is the first to examine the bacteria within the wild chimpanzee oral cavity.

Historic calcified dental plaque (dental calculus) can provide a unique perspective into the health status of past human populations but currently no studies have focused on the oral microbial ecosystem of other primates, including our closest relatives, within the hominids. Advances in next generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses have allowed researchers to study the oral microbiota of modern as well as historic and prehistoric populations through the investigation of dental calculus. Dental calculus is commonly found in living populations without adequate dental care as well as archaeological skeletal assemblages and has been estimated to contain 200 million cells per milligram. This study looks at dental calculus recovered from chimpanzee skeletal remains buried in Gombe National Park in Tanzania from the 1960’s to the 2000’s and includes several chimpanzees that Jane Goodall herself studied.

This article discussed the significant differences in oral microbial phyla between chimpanzees and anatomically modern humans. The results showcase core differences between host species and stress the importance of continued sequencing of nonhuman primate microbiomes in order to fully understand the complexity of their oral ecologies.

For more information: https://twitter.com/NSUHalmos/status/1199070486627520512 

Link to the article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-53802-1