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Keywords:

  • wild chimpanzees;
  • captured chimpanzees;
  • fecal bacteria;
  • 16S rDNA

Abstract

Little information is available regarding the intestinal bacteria of chimpanzees in the wild, due to the technical difficulties of studying intestinal bacteria in the field. In this study, molecular-based bacterial analyses were performed to overcome this difficulty because polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods, such as temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) and amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA), of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene can be applied to ethanol-fixed fecal samples. The common presence of bacteria belonging to the Clostridium rRNA sub-group XIVa, such as Ruminococcus obeum and Eubacterium sp., was indicated for Bossou wild chimpanzees by ARDRA. TGGE on partial 16S rDNA followed by hierarchical clustering analysis showed a systematic difference in the composition of intestinal microbiota between wild and captive chimpanzees. However, several TGGE bands commonly shared by wild and captured chimpanzees were excised, and their sequences were obtained. They were suggested to be the Clostridium leptum subgroup bacteria, Lactobacillus gasseri-like bacterium, and Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum- or B. catenulatum-like bacterium. These may be considered as common intestinal bacteria for chimpanzees, and may be transmitted vertically over generations. Am. J. Primatol. 69:1–10, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.