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科学美国人60秒: 黑猩猩“分享”肠道微生物

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:01-11
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Sociable Chimps Get Richer Gut Microbiomes

黑猩猩“分享”肠道微生物

Chimpanzees. They’re notoriously social creatures. They snack together, snooze together and work hard to keep each other flea- and tick-free. But this simian intimacy does more than just spread the love. It also helps to spread the bacteria that inhabit their guts—which is a good thing. That’s according to a new study in the journal Science Advances.

黑猩猩。众所周知,是社会性动物。黑猩猩一起吃、一起睡,努力保持彼此跳蚤活跃。但是它们之间这种亲密的关系传播的不仅仅是爱意,同时有助于传播寄居在内脏中的病毒——而这是一件好事。该研究结果发表在《科学进步》杂志上。

When we think about the germs that get swapped during social interactions, we tend to focus on the bad guys: the bugs that cause everything from Ebola to the common cold. But could togetherness also promote the exchange of health-promoting microbes, like those in the intestine?

在谈及社会交往过程中所交换细菌,我们常常会想到坏的方面:如埃博拉病毒、感冒病毒等。但是聚集在一起是否会促进对健康有益的细菌的传播呢,例如肠道细菌?

To find out, researchers spent eight years scooping the poop from a troop of 40 chimpanzees in Tanzania. And they analyzed the bacteria present in the samples. What they found was that during the rainy season, when food is plentiful and the chimps are more chummy, the apes harbor an increased number of different bacterial species in their bellies—more microbiodiversity, if you will. Which could make them more resistant to infections.

为了查明结果,研究人员耗时8年搜集了坦桑尼亚群居在一起40只黑猩猩的粪便。他们分析了粪便中的细菌样本。研究人员发现,在雨季时,食物比较充足,这是黑猩猩之间相处更加愉快,这时这些猿类肚子内的微生物种类就会增多——生物多样性增多。而这就会增加黑猩猩对传染病的抵抗能力。

And the chimps' increased microbe load was not due to them all eating the same stuff. In fact, the more time the animals spent together, the more varied they were in terms of how much fruit they consumed.

黑猩猩的微生物负荷增加,并不是因为它们都食用相同的食物。事实上,这些动物在一起的时间越多,它们食用的水果种类也就越多。

The researchers say it’s thus likely the hobnobbing chimps are indeed sharing the microbial wealth while they’re grooming or mating. Or when they’re otherwise too busy to watch where they step.

研究人员称,事实上,这些关系亲密的黑猩猩在梳洗或者交配时才会分享这些微生物财富。而在平时它们太忙了,根本无暇顾及此事。

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