A swab (Huangchenyang Technology, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, China) was used to collect skin bacteria. Faecal samples and swab samples were collected the day before euthanasia and frozen at −80 °C. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, DNA from faecal samples was extracted using a Fast DNA spin kit for faeces (MP Biomedicals, Santa Ana, CA, USA). The extracted DNA was then amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The V4 region of faecal samples of the 16S rRNA gene were amplified using the primers 341F and 806R. The detailed protocol has been described previously [34]. PCR products were purified using a TIANgel mini purification kit (Tiangen Biotech, Beijing, China) and then sequenced using the Illumina sequencing platform (Miseq, Illumina, Santiago Canyon, CA, USA).

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