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  • Writer's pictureFrederic Delsuc

Sophie's first major PhD paper published in mSystems

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Sophie's main PhD paper on metagenomics of the gut microbiota in convergent myrmecophagous mammal species has been published in mSystems (

In this study, we used long and short read metagenomics to investigate the potential role of gut microbial symbionts in the digestion of the insect chitinous exoskeleton in all myrmecophagous placental orders. We generated 29 new gut metagenomes from nine myrmecophagous species to reconstruct more than 300 bacterial genomes in which we identified chitin-degrading enzymes. Studying the distribution of these chitinolytic bacteria among hosts revealed both shared and specific bacteria between ant-eating species. Overall, our results highlight the potential role of gut symbionts in the convergent dietary adaptation of myrmecophagous mammals and the evolutionary mechanisms shaping their gut microbiota.

This paper builds on the biological sampling obtained from fieldwork sessions performed at Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (South Africa) under the auspices of the Tswalu Foundation, and from the JAGUARS collection at the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane (French Guiana).


Teullet S., Tilak M.-K., Magdeleine A., Schaub R., Weyer N.M., Panaino W., Fuller A., Loughry W.J., Avenant N.L., de Thoisy B., Borrel G. & Delsuc F. (2023). Metagenomics uncovers dietary adaptations for chitin digestion in the gut microbiota of convergent myrmecophagous mammals. mSystems 8:e00388-23. doi:10.1128/msystems.00388-23

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