In addition, the new study showed parents share significantly more similar tongue and gut communities with their own children than with other children, but only after about age 3. Such results indicate it is probably easier to exchange skin microbes on home surfaces or indoor air than it is to exchange tongue or gut bacteria, likely because skin surfaces are "less selective" environments, said Knight.
Other paper co-authors included Christian Lauber, Catherine Lozupone, Gregory Humphrey, Donna Berg-Lyons and Noah Fierer from CU-Boulder; Elizabeth Costello from the Stanford University School of Medicine; J. Gregory Caporaso from Northern Arizona University, Dan Knights from the University of Minnesota; Jose Clemente from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Sara Nakielny from the University of California, San Francisco; and Jeffrey Gordon from the Washington University School of Medicine.
The study was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, and the National Institutes of Health.
Dogs were key to the new study, said Knight of CU-Boulder's chemistry and biochemistry department, since results from previous studies suggested there were components of co-habitation involved in microbe sharing. "These previous studies were conducted on humans only, and we wanted to determine whether similar patterns exist when we considered nonhuman co-inhabitants," he said. "And since so many people consider their pets truly a part of the family, it seemed appropriate to include them in a study involving family structure."
The lab procedure involved collecting and isolating microbial DNA directly from swabs used for sampling each body site. Specific bacterial RNA genes present in the DNA were then amplified using a technique known as PCR and the genes sequenced with high-capacity DNA sequencers. The specific bacterial RNA genes amplified from each sample obtained from
|Contact: Rob Knight|
University of Colorado at Boulder