Gut Flora Gene Transfer Idea - Response from author Mark Blumberg

177 views
Skip to first unread message

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Oct 24, 2013, 5:37:27 PM10/24/13
to
Right now I'm finishing a fascinating book by Dr. Mark Blumberg, Oxford Press, called "Freaks of Nature, and what they tell us about development and evolution". More info about the author and his book at
http://www2.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/blumberg/pubs.html I wrote the author and got a short e-mail back. Here is my letter and a quote from his reply:

------------------------
Dr. Blumberg,

'Freaks of Nature' often suggests that nongenetic transmission is important too. I agree. Specifically I think that the human mother passes on gut bacteria to her child. This may be a way of nongenetic transfer that you may not have heard of. Here is a short post I wrote on it.
------------------------
Bacteria Gene Transfer and natural selection from mother to child - a new way of selection? ( for the rest, see earlier post here on SBE for more)
-------------------

The author wrote back. Here is a quote: " By coincidence, I was just talking with a colleague about recent work on gut flora and new ways of thinking about this. NIH is targeting work in this area. "


BIOLOGY HYPOTHESIS http://wp.me/p5S9X-eO
BIOLOGICAL SPECULATIONS Through The Years
http://wp.me/P5S9X-Pp
UV PAPER http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/U/UV_origin_of_life.html
Catabolic and Anabolic evolved, but they did not blend.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Nov 7, 2013, 8:20:49 PM11/7/13
to
This study
http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2013/11/new-reason-why-newborns-cant-fight-colds

Suggests that newborns can't fight colds because their immune systems are set on hold to allow the gut bacteria to settle in. If the immune system was up and running it would attack the needed gut bacteria that the new born got from his mother either during birth, or through breast feeding. Fascinating.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Nov 13, 2013, 11:22:29 PM11/13/13
to
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131111140421.htm
Article: Moms May Pass Effects of Stress to Offspring Via Vaginal Bacteria, Placenta

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Mar 1, 2014, 2:00:25 PM3/1/14
to
Here is more support for the idea that there may be a gut flora gene transfer - even over centuries

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227164534.htm

The communities of phage within the coprolite were different, taxonomically, from communities seen within modern human fecal samples, but the functions they carry out appear to be conserved, says Desnues. That reinforces the hypothesis that the viral community plays a fundamental role within the human gastrointestinal tract, and one which remains unchanged after centuries, even while the human diet and other human conditions have been changing.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Mar 8, 2014, 2:17:58 PM3/8/14
to
This study talks about possible evolution in a mouse gut
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306191438.htm

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Mar 31, 2014, 12:13:05 AM3/31/14
to
Appendix as gut bacteria backup, from this Duke study.
http://corporate.dukemedicine.org/news_and_publications/news_office/news/10151

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Apr 12, 2014, 9:59:29 PM4/12/14
to
On Thursday, November 7, 2013 7:20:49 PM UTC-6, Tom Hendricks wrote:
> This study
>
> http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2013/11/new-reason-why-newborns-cant-fight-colds

I posted this, but didn't study it enough. Note this quote.

WHY INFANTS MAY NOT HAVE A WORKING IMMUNE SYSTEM
One of newborns' biggest vulnerabilities is largely invisible: In the weeks after birth, babies are especially susceptible to infection because their immune systems aren't fully functional. There are a handful of theories to explain this liability, and now a research team has added a new one to the list: Immune suppression in early life might help prevent inflammation in the infants' intestines as they become colonized by the helpful bacteria they need to stay healthy.

Newborns are more likely than older babies to catch, and die from, serious infections. The reason is fuzzy--indeed, there may be more than one explanation. One theory is that much like their brains, their lungs, and the rest of their bodies, infants' immune systems just haven't fully matured yet. Another is that both mothers-to-be and their in utero companions have suppressed immune systems, so that neither rejects the other. After birth, the thinking goes, it takes babies a month or so to boost their immunity.

Question then, are most animal infants born vulnerable?


Mike Playle

unread,
Apr 29, 2014, 4:20:12 PM4/29/14
to
>From the article:

> "Diseases causing severe diarrhea are endemic in countries without
> modern health and sanitation practices [...]
>
> In industrialized societies with modern medical care and sanitation
> practices, the maintenance of a reserve of beneficial bacteria may
> not be necessary. This is consistent with the observation that
> removing the appendix in modern societies has no discernable
> negative effects."

This suggests a test.

People in industrialized societies must catch these diseases sometimes
(perhaps on a trip abroad).

Does their rate of recovery from the disease correlate measurably with
the presence or absence of their appendix?

Mike

Tom Hendricks

unread,
May 3, 2014, 8:45:54 PM5/3/14
to
> This suggests a test.

> People in industrialized societies must catch these diseases sometimes
>
> (perhaps on a trip abroad).
>

> Does their rate of recovery from the disease correlate measurably with
>
> the presence or absence of their appendix?

> Mike

Your test suggests that this is a very testable idea.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
May 3, 2014, 8:45:54 PM5/3/14
to
More on this idea.
When the Gut Biome is Not Yet Set up in the newborn child or What's the importance of allowing a gut biome to fully set up in the newborn.

The newborn seems to need both vaginal birth and breast milk to transfer all the mother's good gut bacteria into the infant.

Then the child needs time to allow that gut bacteria to settle and multiply.
(Note the infants infection fighting process is not yet active in the first 6 months and most immunity comes from the mother. Most likely this is to allow the good gut bacteria to take hold without the child's defense system attacking it.

But if the child doesn't have vaginal birth, or doesn't have breast milk and has formula instead, or doesn't receive breast milk long enough; he does not have the necessary gut biome to

1. help to excrete out waste (anal trauma)
2. help to digest first foods. (oral trauma)

Tom Hendricks

unread,
May 28, 2014, 12:32:03 AM5/28/14
to
Seems to me that we have a new way to transfer genes here that is outside the genome.
Transfer bacteria from mother to child (transfer her bacterial genes to child's gut)

Here is another study and a quote from it
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/40038/title/The-Maternal-Microbiome/

Quote: While many questions remain, it's pretty much taken for granted that the microbial communities of the placenta, vagina, and breast milk are important for fetal and infant development.

Mike Playle

unread,
Jul 27, 2014, 12:31:27 AM7/27/14
to
A similar test has, in fact, been carried out:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/01/02/your-appendix-
could-save-your-life/

> Individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a
> recurrence of Clostridium difficile, exactly as Parker’s hypothesis
> predicted. Recurrence in individuals with their appendix intact
> occurred in 11% of cases. Recurrence in individuals without their
> appendix occurred in 48% of cases.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Jul 27, 2014, 12:31:27 AM7/27/14
to
More support - this from Scientific American article "You Inner Ecosystem."

Quotes:

"the number of genes distributed among the friendly bacteria that live inside people's bodes and on their skin far outnumbers the number of genes we inherit from our parents.
Humans 20-25 thousand genes. Gut microbiome 3.3 million genes.

Some of these bacteria possess genes that encode for beneficial compounds hat the body cannot make on its own. Other bacteria seem to train the body not to overreact to outside threats.

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Aug 3, 2014, 6:56:02 PM8/3/14
to
> A similar test has, in fact, been carried out:
>
>
>
> http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/01/02/your-appendix-
>
> could-save-your-life/
>
>
>
> > Individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a
>
> > recurrence of Clostridium difficile, exactly as Parker's hypothesis
>
> > predicted. Recurrence in individuals with their appendix intact
>
> > occurred in 11% of cases. Recurrence in individuals without their
>
> > appendix occurred in 48% of cases.

Thanks for that update. Looks to me like the first indications are that having an appendix has real benefits after all.


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Aug 13, 2014, 1:45:31 PM8/13/14
to
This study looks at gut microbes in premature infants and finds lots of surprises - the same pattern of colonization seems to follow the age of the infant with 3 main bacteria. Further that antibiotics, etc don't seem to matter that much

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/40738/title/Gut-s-Earliest-Bacterial-Colonizers/

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Sep 29, 2014, 6:13:04 PM9/29/14
to
This study in wasps

A new study, published online on July 18 by the journal Science, has provided direct evidence that these (gut) microbes can contribute to the origin of new species by reducing the viability of hybrids produced between males and females of different species.

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/07/microbes-influence-evolution/


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Oct 13, 2014, 8:22:20 PM10/13/14
to
Could an unconscious fear of infection be a driving force in human behavior? If so how did it evolve?
Could it also play a part in choosing a mate and sexual relations?

This article from Psychology Today suggests a strong unconscious fear of infection.
-your-social-life
Could sexual relations partly be to not only mix genes, but mix each others bacteria in a way that helps each support the good bacteria they have, defend against the bad that they have, and trade bacteria in a way that makes each more healthy and compatible with the other?


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Oct 15, 2014, 11:52:13 PM10/15/14
to
> Suggests that newborns can't fight colds because their immune systems are set on hold to allow the gut bacteria to settle in. If the immune system was up and running it would attack the needed gut bacteria that the new born got from his mother either during birth, or through breast feeding. Fascinating.

Here's more ideas on this subject

Separation Anxiety/ Stranger Anxiety = Infection trauma in infants?
Both Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety may partly be based on the body reacting to both good and bad bacteria.
Separation anxiety: May be in part the infant's fear of loosing his mother's immune system, while his is still developing his own.
Stranger anxiety: May be in part, the infant's fear of stranger germs.



Tom Hendricks

unread,
Oct 15, 2014, 11:52:13 PM10/15/14
to

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Nov 10, 2014, 11:45:52 PM11/10/14
to

> Bacteria Gene Transfer and natural selection from mother to child - a new way of selection?


This study suggests a connection between gut biome and weight
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141106132204.htm

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Jan 12, 2015, 12:17:37 AM1/12/15
to
There is more on this idea from this article

Could gut microbes help treat brain disorders? Mounting research tightens their connection with the brain

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150108125953.htm

"So, if mom's microbial ecosystem changes -- due to infection, stress or diet, for example -- her newborn's gut microbiome will change too, and that can have a lifetime effect."

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Jan 21, 2015, 7:42:07 PM1/21/15
to

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Feb 6, 2015, 11:06:16 PM2/6/15
to
More studies, more support.

"We found that babies who are fed only breast milk have microbial communities that seem more ready for the introduction of solid foods," said Andrea Azcarate-Peril, PhD, assistant professor in the department of cell biology and physiology and the study's senior author. "The transition to solids is much more dramatic for the microbiomes of babies that are not exclusively breastfed. We think the microbiomes of non-exclusively breastfed babies could contribute to more stomach aches and colic."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150205174625.htm


Tom Hendricks

unread,
Feb 23, 2015, 12:10:24 PM2/23/15
to
This study suggests that the introduction of some bacteria into the infant gut, helps it set up its immune system. And without that early introduction - usually from mother's breast milk - the child's immune system does not set up well.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150221192213.htm

Quote:
The immune system is designed to be exposed to bacteria on a grand scale. If you minimize those exposures, the immune system won't develop optimally."

Tom Hendricks

unread,
Mar 4, 2015, 11:29:45 PM3/4/15
to
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages