Comparison of fecal biota from specific pathogen free and feral mice
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Specific pathogen free (SPF) rodents are derived from germfree animals that are colonized with Schaedler's flora, a cocktail of eight bacterial strains isolated from the natural biota of mice. During successive generations SPF animals acquire a complex biota, but it is not known how similar it is to natural mouse biota. Therefore, fecal pellets of two feral mice and three SPF mice were studied by small subunit ribosomal DNA sequence analysis. After amplification of 16S rDNA by Bacterial Kingdom-specific primers, 132 rDNA clones from feral mice and 219 clones from SPF mice were placed phylogenetically. Forty-four percent of recovered rDNAs from feral mice were from organisms belonging to the Ribosomal Database Project's Bacteroides Group with significant proportions also coming from lactobacilli, the Clostridium coccoides Group and the Clostridium leptum Group. Although the SPF biota appeared equally complex at lower phylogenetic levels, the major phylogenetic groups represented were less diverse in that 92% of rDNA's from SPF mice mapped to groups of clostridia with 79% to the C. coccoides Group alone. Given the number of physiological parameters influenced by the gut biota and the importance of mice in biomedical research, further investigations are warranted.