Development Of The Human Intestinal Microbiota.
Nature 448, 542-544 (2 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/448542a;
"The human intestine is home to trillions of bacteria. Investigation
of the colonization of the infant gut by these microorganisms is a
prelude to understanding how they may act in both health and disease.
At birth, babies emerge from a sterile environment into one that
is laden with microbes. The infant's intestine then rapidly becomes
home to one of the densest populations of bacteria on Earth...
Interest in this ecosystem stems in part from the discovery of
numerous benefits that arise from our intestinal microbiota:
these bacteria help in extracting nutrients from food, and are instrumental
in the development of the gut (2,3)and the immune system (4) after birth.
However, gut microbes have also been linked to several disease states,
including inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer, and less directly
to maladies such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis
and even autism (5,6).
An accurate and comprehensive analysis of the microbes present in
the developing microbiota of the infant is an essential first step towards
understanding which of them may affect the health of the host"