What is it about?

Everyone possesses a gut microbiome: our gut is filled with trillions of bacteria that perform useful processes that help us live health lives. When we were born, though, our gut microbiome was empty! Our paper helps explain how, over time, our microbiome acquired the bacteria that exist in it today.

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Why is it important?

In the last 20 years scientists have shown that the gut microbiome affects human health. Microbial therapies, like fecal microbiota transplantation and probiotics, seek to deliberately and beneficially modify a person's gut microbiome. The process of acquiring new foreign microbes from a particular microbial therapy is quite similar to the experimental setup we examine in this paper, in which germ-free flies are fed known bacterial species. Therefore, the insights gained from our research could translate to improving the construction and administration of microbial therapies.

Perspectives

Lately, it has become commonly accepted that our microbiome affects our life, but not much research has been performed to demonstrate how we acquired our microbiomes in the first place! Our experiments shed light on how microbiomes are assembled.

Eric Jones
Simon Fraser University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Stochastic microbiome assembly depends on context, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2115877119.
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