Microbial control of host gene regulation and the evolution of host-microbiome interactions in primates

Laura Grieneisen, Amanda L. Muehlbauer, Ran Blekhman

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11 Scopus citations


Recent comparative studies have found evidence consistent with the action of natural selection on gene regulation across primate species. Other recent work has shown that the microbiome can regulate host gene expression in a wide range of relevant tissues, leading to downstream effects on immunity, metabolism and other biological systems in the host. In primates, even closely related host species can have large differences in microbiome composition. One potential consequence of these differences is that host species-specific microbial traits could lead to differences in gene expression that influence primate physiology and adaptation to local environments. Here, we will discuss and integrate recent findings from primate comparative genomics and microbiome research, and explore the notion that the microbiome can influence host evolutionary dynamics by affecting gene regulation across primate host species. This article is part of the theme issue 'The role of the microbiome in host evolution'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20190598
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1808
StatePublished - Sep 28 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • comparative genomics
  • evolution
  • gene regulation
  • host-microbiome
  • primate


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