If we cloned an extinct animal like the mammoth, what would become of its gut biome?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Seems like it would depend on the animal rather than an absolute answer that applies to everything. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 13:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Got like seven questions here. Would be easier to give a straight answer if you narrow it down a bit. $\endgroup$
    – MikeyC
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ any one of these questions would be a good question, but you need to pick one. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


The gut biome would be populated from whatever the environment was of the newly "cloned" animal.

Presumably the baby animal would be born by birth from a live host mother, which would be the likely source for microbiota, similar to other animals.

  • $\begingroup$ I think this is about as good of an answer to this question one can givd. But out of curiosity: is it really safe to assume that any microorganisms capable of populating the gut of the host species, are also able to populate that of the (extinct) cloned species? Are species separated by (say) tens of millions of years of evolution typically able to host similar microbiomes? $\endgroup$
    – gaspanic
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 20:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gaspanic I think that we can expect there to be some dropout relative to the mother. But that's true even of mother-child pairs of the same species! For example, the fecal/gut/vaginal microbiomes of the human mother are contributors to neonatal gut microbiome. that doesn't mean that the infant gut is exactly those communities! As they say in ecology, "everything is everywhere but the environment selects", which isn't exactly true but is a good way to think about colonization. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 21:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Right, I agree that mother and child will by no means have identical microbiomes. I was more thinking in terms of whether co-evolution between host and microorganisms could have led to some of the microbiome species being directly incapable of thriving in the "cloned" species gut. But maybe it's too far-fetched to think that a "cloned" species that is similar enough (evolutionary speaking) to develop in its host, would be different enough to significantly affect the ability of some of the host's microorganisms to colonize its gut. $\endgroup$
    – gaspanic
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 21:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @gaspanic there is some work on coevolution of gut microbes and host, but I find the work somewhat unconvincing as a general rule. There are some specific hybrid lethalities in wasps driven by microbiomes, and a little evidence for human genetic variation associations, but it seems very case specific. Mice will grow transplanted human microbiomes just fine. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks @MaximilianPress, will check these out! Not my field of expertise. $\endgroup$
    – gaspanic
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .