High-Resolution Analyses of Overlap in the Microbiota Between Mothers and Their Children

Curr Microbiol. 2015 Aug;71(2):283-90. doi: 10.1007/s00284-015-0843-5. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Understanding the transmission of the human microbiota from mother to child is of major importance. Although we are gaining knowledge using 16S rRNA gene analyses, the resolution of this gene is not sufficient to determine transmission patterns. We therefore developed an Illumina deep sequencing approach targeting the 16-23S rRNA Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) for high-resolution microbiota analyses. Using this approach, we analyzed the composition and potential mother to child transmission patterns of the microbiota (milk and stool) in a longitudinal cohort of 20 mother/child pairs. Our results show overlap in the infant stool microbiota with both mother's milk and stool, and that the overlap with stool increases with age. We found an Operational Taxonomic Unit resembling Streptococcus gordonii as the most widespread colonizer of both mothers and their children. In conclusion, the increased resolution of 16-23S rRNA ITS deep sequencing revealed new knowledge about potential transmission patterns of human-associated bacteria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / microbiology*
  • Mothers
  • Phylogeny
  • Young Adult