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Breast Milk Contains Over 700 Bacteria Species

Humans carry around loads of living bacteria that are crucial for good health, and through breastfeeding, infants make some of their first contact with beneficial microorganisms that will colonize their body. Scientists have discovered that breast milk contains more species of bacteria than originally expected ā€” more than 700 varieties.

The bacteria's exact role is still unclear, but this microbial diversity could help the baby to digest the milk or to give the infant's immune system a boost, researchers say. And further investigations could lead to nutrition strategies for babies who cannot be breastfed.

The microbiome of breast milk was mapped out using a DNA sequencing technique known as pyrosequencing, which generates extremely large numbers of small DNA "tags" copied from the genes of organisms being examined. Scientists can sort out different species by looking at variations in DNA sequences that code for a molecule universal among all living cells.
 
 

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