We are not alone: the human body is home to trillions of bacteria. At Salk, we are exploring how this community of bacteria helps us stay healthy, and how we might help it fight disease.

Specific bacteria in the gut prompt mother mice to neglect their pups

The microbiota are the microorganisms that colonize the body, but scientists are unsure about how they affect the brain. Professor Janelle Ayres, first author and former graduate student Yujung Michelle Lee and colleagues have identified a strain of E. coli bacteria that, when living in the guts of female mice, causes them to neglect their offspring. The findings show a direct link between a particular microbe and maternal behavior, demonstrating that microbes in the gut are important for brain health and can affect development and behavior.

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