Proximity is important with the gut microbiome. People who live together will eventually have the same or similar microbes colonizing their bodies over time based on an 18 January 2023 global study in Nature.

The study led by microbiome researchers Mireia Valles-Colomer and Nicola Segata at the University of Trento, Italy, analysed DNA from nearly 10,000 stool and saliva samples from people all over the world, from Argentinians, Chinese, Europeans to North Americans.

The strongest link appear to be between the microbiomes of mothers and their children, particularly early in life. During an infant’s first year of life, half of the microbial strains in their guts were shared with their mothers.

Sharing also occurred with the child’s father, and even between households in rural communities. Microbiome researchers believe this research will lead to identifying the source of diseases.

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