Researchers find bacteria residing in guts of mice come from mother and remain nearly constant over many generations

October 26, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Medical Xpress report
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A team of researchers at the University of California has found that bacteria residing in the guts of mice are mainly obtained from their mothers and their microbiome makeup remains nearly the same over many generations. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their experiments with house mice and what they learned.

Prior research has shown that mammals have a very large number of bacteria living on and inside of their bodies, particularly in the gut. But how the origin of the bacteria has not been clearly understood. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that suggests most of them come from the gut of their mothers.

To learn more about the mouse , the researchers captured 17 from two locations in Arizona and Canada. They then set up housing for the mice in their lab—the mice from each location were kept separate from the other. The researchers allowed the mice to mate and produce young, and thereafter, the offspring were allowed to produce offspring, as well. This went on for three years, resulting in 11 generations of mice. Along the way, the researchers took gut samples that were subjected to genetic testing to identify the bacteria living in the gut.

The researchers found that the gut biome of the mice remained remarkably stable—the biome of the 11th generation was nearly identical to the first generation. The researchers suggest this is evidence of gut biome bacteria being passed down through the generations, an example of vertical transmission. They note that in the few instances where new bacteria were introduced into a mouse's gut from an unknown external source, the were of types that tend to cause illnesses. Thus, they suggest that that show up in the gut likely come from a horizontal source. It also bolsters theories that suggest mammals and their gut biomes have co-evolved in a way that led to symbiosis. The conclude by suggesting that evolutionary theory indicates their findings likely apply to humans as well.

Explore further: Study suggests same gut bacteria can trigger different immune responses depending on environment

More information: Transmission modes of the mammalian gut microbiota," Science  26 Oct 2018:Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 453-457.DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7164

Related Stories

Study suggests same gut bacteria can trigger different immune responses depending on environment

July 24, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found that one type of gut bacteria triggers different kinds of immune responses depending on the state of the environment they ...

Gut microbiome of mother found to impact immunity of mice pups

March 18, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Switzerland and Germany has found that the gut microbiome of a pregnant mouse can have an impact on the development of the immune system in the pups she delivers. In their paper ...

Researchers identify genes associated with specific metabolic pathways

October 2, 2015
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers working at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri has identified several genes associated with specific metabolic pathways in a mammal biome, including ...

First gut bacteria may have lasting effect on ability to fight chronic diseases

September 18, 2018
New research showing that the first bacteria introduced into the gut have a lasting impact may one day allow science to adjust microbiomes—the one-of-a-kind microbial communities that live in our gastrointestinal tracts—to ...

Intestinal virus study shows major changes associated with inflammatory bowel disease

July 24, 2018
Unexpected patterns emerged in the microbial and viral communities of mice with intestinal inflammation during a study that examined the intestinal tracts of diseased and healthy mice. Spearheaded by researchers at North ...

Recommended for you

New inflammation inhibitor discovered

November 16, 2018
A multidisciplinary team of researchers led from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed an anti-inflammatory drug molecule with a new mechanism of action. By inhibiting a certain protein, the researchers were able ...

Gut hormone and brown fat interact to tell the brain it's time to stop eating

November 15, 2018
Researchers from Germany and Finland have shown that so-called "brown fat" interacts with the gut hormone secretin in mice to relay nutritional signals about fullness to the brain during a meal. The study, appearing November ...

Brain, muscle cells found lurking in kidney organoids grown in lab

November 15, 2018
Scientists hoping to develop better treatments for kidney disease have turned their attention to growing clusters of kidney cells in the lab. One day, so-called organoids—grown from human stem cells—may help repair damaged ...

How the Tasmanian devil inspired researchers to create 'safe cell' therapies

November 15, 2018
A contagious facial cancer that has ravaged Tasmanian devils in southern Australia isn't the first place one would look to find the key to advancing cell therapies in humans.

Researchers discover important connection between cells in the liver

November 15, 2018
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have made a discovery which could lead to a new way of thinking about how disease pathogenesis in the liver is regulated, which is important for understanding the condition ...

Precision neuroengineering enables reproduction of complex brain-like functions in vitro

November 14, 2018
One of the most important and surprising traits of the brain is its ability to dynamically reconfigure the connections to process and respond properly to stimuli. Researchers from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) and the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.