Mom knows best: the universality of maternal microbial transmission.

Funkhouser LJ, Bordenstein SR
PLoS Biol. 2013 11 (8): e1001631

PMID: 23976878 · PMCID: PMC3747981 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001631

The sterile womb paradigm is an enduring premise in biology that human infants are born sterile. Recent studies suggest that infants incorporate an initial microbiome before birth and receive copious supplementation of maternal microbes through birth and breastfeeding. Moreover, evidence for microbial maternal transmission is increasingly widespread across animals. This collective knowledge compels a paradigm shift—one in which maternal transmission of microbes advances from a taxonomically specialized phenomenon to a universal one in animals. It also engenders fresh views on the assembly of the microbiome, its role in animal evolution, and applications to human health and disease.

MeSH Terms (9)

Animals Breast Feeding Female Humans Infant, Newborn Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical Maternal Exposure Microbiota Pregnancy

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