Early gut bacteria shape intestinal ecosystem

November 27, 2018

Beating their brethren to the gut can help bacteria make a lasting impression, says new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The study suggests that the order in which bacterial species stake out unclaimed territory in the gut can shape an intestinal ecosystem for a lifetime, potentially shifting the odds of certain health outcomes in the process.

Though timing wasn’t everything, multiple experiments showed that species given early access to the intestinal tracts of germ-free mice — before the prime real estate had been seized by others — generally took advantage. Over several months, the biodiversity of those burgeoning gut ecosystems often came to be dominated by, or at least resemble, the species that got there first.

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Story by Scott Schrage | University Communication