More Support for Selection Through Gut Bacteria

More support for the idea that there may be genetic transfer not only from mother to child but from mother and mother’s gut bacteria to infants gut bacteria:

These quotes from Science News magazine Jan. 11. 2014

“Many sugars in human breast milk nourish bacteria, not babies. It turns out that these sugars also tweak the baby’s immune system to help beneficial microbes colonize the gut, fend off possibly dangerous bacteria and even trigger changes in gene activity that help protect cells from pathogens.”

“Reports of mother-to-child bacterial transmission appear to be so widespread among animals, Bordenstein argues, that it’s time to consider them the norm. He and Vanderbilt colleague Lisa Funkhouser published a manifesto in the August in PLOS Biology calling for an end to the ‘sterile-womb paradigm.”

Drosophila melnogaster flies rejected opposite diet flies as potential mates after just one generation of eating molasses rather than starch … What made the difference,… were diet-based shifts in gut microbes that in turn influenced sex pheromones.
Observing a microbial effect on mate choice makes it sensible to ask a very big question: Could these teeming microscopic masses control the evolutionary fate of whole species”

“the experiment supports Bordenstein’s view that evolutionary forces act not just on an animal’s DNA but on the sum of its own genome and those of its microbial residents.

“All this stuff about ‘you are who you are, depending on your nuclear genes’ was demonstrably not true,” he says, if microbes living symbiotically in the body amount to a second mode of inheritance.”


More studies, more support.

“We found that babies who are fed only breast milk have microbial communities that seem more ready for the introduction of solid foods,” said Andrea Azcarate-Peril, PhD, assistant professor in the department of cell biology and physiology and the study’s senior author. “The transition to solids is much more dramatic for the microbiomes of babies that are not exclusively breastfed. We think the microbiomes of non-exclusively breastfed babies could contribute to more stomach aches and colic.”


More support for gene transfer from mother to child through gut bacteria.

Two quotes:

… The relationships between the mothers’ genetics, the composition of her breast milk and the development of her infant’s gut microbiota. It also reveals clues for enriching desirable bacteria in populations at risk of intestinal diseases …

“What this work does show us is that the mother’s genotype matters, and that it influences the breast milk, which clearly drives the establishment of microbes in the intestines of their babies.”


This trading of gut microbes seems to be found in other species.
This quote from “Life at Small Scale” Dusenbery, about termites.

The specialized flagellates (that ingest the wood) that live in termites have not been found elsewhere. The termites and flagellates have apparently evolved together …

The termites habitually regurgitate food to other members of their colony, and by this behavior can inoculate new members of the community with the microbes.”


Tags: , , , , ,

3 Responses to “More Support for Selection Through Gut Bacteria”

  1. musea Says:

    This science article, Vaccinating Babies, Without Vaccinating Babies,
    suggests some ideas.
    1. Antibodies can be transferred from the mother to the child through mother’s milk.
    2. We often cannot vaccinate young infants. It does more harm than good.
    3. We can vaccinate their moms. Then they in turn can safely pass the antibodies to their infants through breast milk.

    They later mentioned that infants could benefit by getting more antibodies from more mother’s milk with different immune backgrounds. They say, “Not too long ago in most cultures, if a baby cried a woman would pick it up and nurse it; most women were pregnant or lactating.”

    This supports my idea of a novel way of humans to pass on “genes” – in this case, not human genes but the genes of healthy antibodies.

  2. musea Says:
    This is a science study that shows stress in the mother is passed on to the child through different gut bacteria.

  3. musea Says:

    This quote suggests that first bacteria is important to setting up the bacterial colony. “This happens, Gore says, because the initial colonization of the gut is a rare event, so whichever microbe makes it there first tends to dominate the entire population.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s