Research ArticleMicrobiome

Natural history of the infant gut microbiome and impact of antibiotic treatment on bacterial strain diversity and stability

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Science Translational Medicine  15 Jun 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 343, pp. 343ra81
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad0917

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Elucidating the effects of drugs on bugs

Despite widespread use of antibiotics in children, the effects of antibiotic exposure on the developing infant gut microbiome have remained underexplored. Here, Yassour et al. present a longitudinal study capturing how the gut microbiome responds to and recovers from antibiotic perturbations. Antibiotic-treated children had less stable and less diverse bacterial communities. Antibiotic resistance genes within the guts of these children peaked after antibiotic treatment but generally returned rapidly to baseline. Delivery mode (vaginal versus cesarean) also had strong long-term effects on microbial diversity. These data give insights into the consequences of early life factors such as birth mode and antibiotic treatment on the infant gut microbiome.