Ethnicity influences the gut microbiota of individuals sharing a geographical location: a cross-sectional study from a middle-income country

Jacky Dwiyanto, M. H. Hussain, D. Reidpath, K. S. Ong, A. Qasim, S. W.H. Lee, S. M. Lee, S. C. Foo, C. W. Chong, Sadequr Rahman

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No studies have investigated the influence of ethnicity in a multi-ethnic middle-income country with a long-standing history of co-habitation. Stool samples from 214 Malaysian community members (46 Malay, 65 Chinese, 49 Indian, and 54 Jakun) were collected. The gut microbiota of the participants was investigated using 16S amplicon sequencing. Ethnicity exhibited the largest effect size across participants (PERMANOVA Pseudo-F = 4.24, R2 = 0.06, p = 0.001). Notably, the influence of ethnicity on the gut microbiota was retained even after controlling for all demographic, dietary factors and other covariates which were significantly associated with the gut microbiome (PERMANOVA Pseudo-F = 1.67, R2 = 0.02, p = 0.002). Our result suggested that lifestyle, dietary, and uncharacterized differences collectively drive the gut microbiota variation across ethnicity, making ethnicity a reliable proxy for both identified and unidentified lifestyle and dietary variation across ethnic groups from the same community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2618
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021

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