Wolves, dogs and humans in regular contact can mutually impact each other’s skin microbiota
In contrast to humans and dogs, the skin microbiota of wolves is yet to be described. Here, we investigated the skin microbiota of dogs and wolves kept in outdoor packs at the Wolf Science Center (WSC) via 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Skin swab samples were also collected from human care takers and their pet dogs.
When comparing the three canine groups, representing different degrees of human contact to the care takers and each other, the pet dogs showed the highest level of diversity. Additionally, while human skin was dominated by a few abundant phylotypes, the skin microbiota of the care takers who had particularly close contact with the WSC animals was more similar to the microbiota of dogs and wolves compared to the humans who had less contact with these animals.
Our results suggest that domestication may have an impact on the diversity of the skin microbiota, and that the canine skin microbiota can be shared with humans, depending on the level of interaction.
S. U. Wetzels, C. R. Strachan. B. Conrady, M. Wagner, I. A. Burgener, Z. Virányi, E. Selberherr, Wolves, dogs and humans in regular contact can mutually impact each other’s skin microbiota, Scientific Reports 11 (2021) 17106