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Bacteria passed straight to children have more healthcare benefits than if they are transmitted via the surrounding environment, new Oxford University research reveals.

Image credit: C. Frazee, and contributed by M. McFall-Ngai

 

New research, published in Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, tracked the evolutionary history of 106 bacterial symbioses, in a range of animal, plant and fungi species.

The findings have revealed that how bacteria is passed and contracted is key to the intensity of symbiont relationships. When bacteria are passed vertically, straight from mother to offspring, they tend to be much better for their hosts than if they are transmitted via the environment (horizontally).

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