Increasing evidence indicates that dysbiosis in the gut microbiota contributes to disease pathogenesis. However, whether certain taxa are universally indicative of diverse shrimp diseases is unclear thus far. We conducted a meta-analysis to explore the divergences in gut microbiota between healthy and diseased shrimp. The gut bacterial communities of healthy shrimp varied significantly (P < 0.05 in each comparison) over ontogenetic stages, and were distinct from the corresponding diseased cohorts at each life stage. Both phylogenetic-based mean nearest taxon distance analysis and multivariate dispersion testing revealed that shrimp disease weakened the relative importance of deterministic processes in governing the gut microbiota. Partitioning beta diversity analysis indicated that temporal turnover governed the gut microbiota as healthy shrimp aged, whereas this trend was retarded in disease cohorts, concurrent with an increased nestedness. After ruling out the age-discriminatory and disease-specific orders, a high diagnosed accuracy (85.9%) of shrimp health status was achieved by using the profiles of the 11 universal disease-discriminatory orders as independent variables. These findings improve current understanding of how disease alters the ecological processes that govern the shrimp gut microbiota assembly, and exemplifies the potential application of universal bacterial signatures to diagnose the incidence of diverse shrimp diseases, irrespective of causal pathogens.
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