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

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 gut biome, the researchers captured 17 mice 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.

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