DataSheet1_Differences in gut bacterial community composition between modern and slower-growing broiler breeder lines: Implications of growth selection on microbiome composition.xlsx
In the last century broiler chicken lines have undergone an extensive breeding regime aimed primarily at growth and high meat yield. It is not known if breeding has also resulted in a change to the broiler breeder’s associated gut microbiota. Here we compared the gut microbiota of 37-week-old commercial Cobb breeding dams with dams from a broiler Legacy line which has not undergone selection since 1986. The dams from both lines were kept together in the same shed under the same management protocol from day of hatch to avoid additional confounders. We chose this age to allow significant bacterial exchange, thus avoiding exposure dependent artifacts and so that we could compare dams at the same developmental state of adulthood and peak laying performance. Significant differences in the composition of the cecum bacterial communities were found. Bacteria of the genus Akkermansia, implicated in mucin degradation and associated with host metabolic health, accounted for 4.98% ± 5.04% of the Cobb cecum community, but were mostly absent from the ceca of the Legacy line dams. Inversely, Legacy dams had higher levels of Clostridiales, Lactobacillales and Aeromonadales. These results show that breeding has resulted in a change in the gut microbiota composition, likely by changing the physiological conditions in the mucosa. It remains unclear if changes in gut microbiota composition are a part of the mechanism affecting growth or are a secondary result of other physiological changes accelerating growth. Therefore, the identification of these changes opens the door to further targeted research.