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Gut Bacteria Influence Brain Development

Researchers have discovered that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and behavior. The scientists compared behavior and gene expression in two groups of mice, one set raised with normal microorganisms, and another raised completely germ-free. The two groups of mice displayed different behaviors as adults.

Adult germ-free mice were more active and engaged in more risky behavior.

According to Science Daily:

"Subsequent gene profiling in the brain identified genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory and motor control that were affected by the absence of gut bacteria, highlighting the profound changes in the mice that developed in the absence of microorganisms. This suggests that, over the course of evolution, colonization of the gut by microorganisms (in total 1.5 kilograms) in early infancy became integrated into early brain development."

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