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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 2;7:40932. doi: 10.1038/srep40932.

The Fecal Microbial Community of Breast-fed Infants from Armenia and Georgia.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
Foods for Health Institute, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia.
IAHAHI (International Association for Human and Animals Health Improvement), Yerevan, Armenia.
Armenian National Agrarian University, Yerevan, Armenia.
Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA.
Genome Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Multiple factors help shape the infant intestinal microbiota early in life. Environmental conditions such as the presence of bioactive molecules from breast milk dictate gut microbial growth and survival. Infants also receive distinct, personalized, bacterial exposures leading to differential colonization. Microbial exposures and gut environmental conditions differ between infants in different locations, as does the typical microbial community structure in an infant's gut. Here we evaluate potential influences on the infant gut microbiota through a longitudinal study on cohorts of breast-fed infants from the neighboring countries of Armenia and Georgia, an area of the world for which the infant microbiome has not been previously investigated. Marker gene sequencing of 16S ribosomal genes revealed that the gut microbial communities of infants from these countries were dominated by bifidobacteria, were different from each other, and were marginally influenced by their mother's secretor status. Species-level differences in the bifidobacterial communities of each country and birth method were also observed. These community differences suggest that environmental variation between individuals in different locations may influence the gut microbiota of infants.

Conflict of interest statement

DAM is a co-founder of Evolve Biosystems, a company focused on diet-based manipulation of the gut microbiota. Evolve Biosystems played no role in the design, execution, interpretation, or publication of this study.

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