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FIGURE 5-1 Results from a study on breast-fed versus formula-fed human infants showing variation in gut microbial composition.
SOURCE: Donovan et al., 2012.

Donovan and her team identified associations between the microbiome virulence genes and 11 host immunity defense genes (TACR1, VAV2, ALOX5, NDST, REL, BPILI, AOC3, KLRF1, DUOX2, IL1A, and SP2) (Schwartz et al., 2012). Donovan speculated on the potential biomarker usefulness of microbial sequencing, in this case as a way to predict host defense mechanisms. These findings suggest that simultaneously examining the multivariate structure underlying the microbiome and gut transcriptome leverages richer and fuller information content compared to analyses focusing on single datasets (e.g., only host transcriptome data or only microbiome data) and only single variables (e.g., gene-by-gene differential expression testing). The use of canonical correlation analysis can support the formulation of hypothesis-based studies by accurately identifying those genes active in commensal microbiome and host activities (Schwartz et al., 2012).

What Components in the Infant Diet Affect the Intestinal Microbiota?

Nutrients and bioactive components in human milk directly influence the development of the infant’s immune system, actively protect the infant from pathogenic infection, and facilitate establishment of the microbiota, the last of which is required to activate the mucosal immune system. Recent data suggest that HMOs contribute to many of these activities (Donovan et al., 2012). Oligosaccharides are the third most predominant component



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