Nav: Home

Novel study reveals presence of fungal DNA in the fetal human gut

September 05, 2019

A recent human study published in The FASEB Journal discovered the presence of fungal communities in the fetal gut. The study marks the first of its kind to observe fungal DNA in this developmental setting.

To conduct the experiment, researchers collected the first stool after birth from babies born at term and babies born preterm. Termed "meconium," the first stool consists of leftover material from intestinal formation. Researchers then used MiSeq sequencing to detect and classify fungal and bacterial DNA, reconstruct the interkingdom community structure, and examine the structure of those communities based on gestational age at birth. They also screened for live bacteria and fungi using culture-based techniques.

The study found that the human fetus may be exposed to fungal DNA in a natural, gradual process that is intertwined with human development and may begin prior to birth. While it remains unclear how microbial DNA accumulates in the fetal gut, these microbial components appear to be present early in pregnancy and likely play important roles in human health and development.

"Understanding how initial fungal colonization naturally occurs allows us to begin exploring how this process goes wrong in some individuals," said Kent Willis, MD, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. "Disordered gut fungal colonization has been implicated in a wide range of diseases, from inflammatory bowel disease to asthma. We provide data here that gives us new insights into how these processes may be influenced."

"This is a fascinating development, raising intriguing new questions to be tackled," said Thoru Pederson, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
-end-
The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The world's most cited biology journal according to the Institute for Scientific Information, it has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century.

FASEB is composed of 29 societies with more than 130,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB's mission is to advance health and well-being by promoting research and education in biological and biomedical sciences through collaborative advocacy and service to member societies and their members.

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...