Work Package (WP) 4 – Host-microbiome interactions
WP Leader: Kevin Shingfield
The gastrointestinal tract is a key biological system that exhibits variation in efficiency of digestion and absorption of nutrients. This variation has its origin in several different factors, including genetic variation, diet, diet and genotype interactions, microflora and variation in gut integrity and health. Recent studies in man and mice have shown that while there is considerable variation in the abundance of specific bacterial populations most individuals share a common core microbiome that is under genetic control of the host. The significance of host-microbiome interactions and the demonstration that heritable traits affect the gut microbiome in the mouse highlights the enormous potential for selective animal breeding to alter the rumen microbiome for enhancing the conversion of feed resources into meat and milk and decreasing the ecological footprint of ruminant livestock production.
To understand host-animal control of the composition and function of the rumen microbiome by the examination of the role of the rumen microbiome on digestive efficiency, methane output, nitrogen excretion and nutrient metabolism in two ruminant species. Specifically to:
- Compare the composition and function of the rumen microbiome and the metagenome between ruminant species.
- Examine host-animal control of the composition and function of the rumen microbiome in reindeer with rumen contents taken from cows.
- Characterise the microbiome in buccal samples, ruminal digesta and faeces in reindeer and cows.
- Determine the variation in the composition and function of the rumen microbiome in cows with an identical genetic background.
- Determine the effect of the rumen microbiome on the transcription of genes involved in ruminant metabolism.
- Report on the role of different ruminant species on the composition and function of the rumen microbiome, methane output, nitrogen excretion and digestive efficiency.
- Report on the variation in identical cows in the composition and function of the rumen microbiome, methane output, nitrogen excretion, digestive efficiency and milk composition.
- Report on the influence of the rumen microbiome on the transcription of genes and gene networks in adipose and liver involved in nutrient metabolism in the cow.