It is becoming increasingly evident that the myriad of microbes in the gut, within cells and attached to body parts (or roots of plants), play crucial roles for the host. Although this has been known for decades, recent developments in molecular biology allow for expanded insight into the abundance and function of these microbes. Here we used the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate fitness measures across the lifetime of flies fed a suspension of gut microbes harvested from young or old flies, respectively. Our hypothesis was that flies constitutively enriched with a ‘Young microbiome’ would live longer and be more agile at old age (i.e. have increased healthspan) compared to flies enriched with an ‘Old microbiome’. Three major take home messages came out of our study: (1) the gut microbiomes of young and old flies differ markedly; (2) feeding flies with Young and Old microbiomes altered the microbiome of recipient flies and (3) the two different microbial diets did not have any effect on locomotor activity nor lifespan of the recipient flies, contradicting our working hypothesis. Combined, these results provide novel insight into the interplay between hosts and their microbiomes and clearly highlight that the phenotypic effects of gut transplants and probiotics can be complex and unpredictable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7799
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2024

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© 2024. The Author(s).


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