Seeing through microbiome development

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Science  23 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6259, pp. 395-396
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6259.395-c

Zebrafish show that the microbiome varies due to experience as animals age


The transparent zebrafish is an ideal model for studying the codevelopment of the vertebrate gut and its microbiome. Stephens et al. took a pair of zebrafish and kept about 250 of their offspring in identical conditions, from hatching until they died of old age. Despite high levels of replication, variation is the order of the day. Young fish are variably colonized with environmental organisms. As the fish continue to develop, distinct bacterial communities emerge at different life stages, driven by the changing morphology of the gut and diet. Ultimately, despite the general patterns, adult gut communities are as distinct from each other as they are from their environment.

ISME J. 10.1038/ismej.2015.140 (2015).

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