2 new mBio articles on the acquisition of microbiota in humans over time & impact of microbiota on epigenetics

Martin Blaser’s new article in mBio suggests some interesting explanations as to how evolution has dictated acquisition of the human microbiome.  Excerpted from the abstract:

“…We hypothesize that the age structure of early humans was maintained by mechanisms incorporating the programmed death of senescent individuals, including by means of interactions with their indigenous microorganisms. First, before and during reproductive life, there was selection for microbes that preserve host function through regulation of energy homeostasis, promotion of fecundity, and defense against competing high-grade pathogens. Second, we hypothesize that after reproductive life, there was selection for organisms that contribute to host demise. While deleterious to the individual, the presence of such interplay may be salutary for the overall host population in terms of resource utilization, resistance to periodic diminutions in the food supply, and epidemics due to high-grade pathogens…”

Link to the paper:  http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/6/e02262-14.abstract?cpetoc

Ruth Ley also has a new paper out in this latest mBio issue, on how microbiota impact host epigenetics

Link to paper:  http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/6/e02113-14.abstract?cpetoc

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