A mouse’s gut microbiome is, largely speaking, inherited and alters very little throughout multiple generations, according to a long-term study of caged wild mice published in Science today (October 25). While this vertical transmission predominates in the given experimental setup, the study also reveals that certain genera of bacteria could spread horizontally from cage to cage—via the air or animal handlers—and that such taxa are related to disease-causing species in humans.
“I was very excited to read this, because this paper confirms that different wild mice . . . can be brought into standard laboratory environments and [after generations of inbreeding] their distinct microbiota are very faithful to the original mice,” says immunologist Barbara Rehermann of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases who was not involved in the study. “This indicates that anything that is vertically transmitted has probably been selected over eons of years because it’s very well accommodated to the host and confers host benefits.”
Read more at: The Scientist