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Gut Microbes Promote Cell Turnover by a Well-Known Pathway

Microbes matter -- perhaps more than anyone realizes -- in basic biological development and, maybe, they could be a target for reducing cancer risks, according to University of Oregon researchers.

In a study of very basic biology of zebrafish, scientists in the UO Institute of Molecular Biology focused on the developing intestine during its early formation in the sterile environment of its eggshell through the exposure to natural colonizing bacteria after hatching.

What they found was eye opening, said Karen Guillemin, professor of biology: Resident microbes in the still-maturing intestine send messages that promote non-disease-related cell proliferation in the same Wnt [pronounced went] signaling pathway where genetic mutations have long been known to give rise to colorectal cancer.

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