SICS Research Fellow Receives DOHaD Travel Award at the 11th DOHaD World Congress 2019

SICS Research Fellow Receives DOHaD Travel Award at the 11th DOHaD World Congress 2019
18 October, 2019 No Comments Conferences Felicia

Congratulations to Dr Jia Xu, research fellow from Karnani’s lab!

Dr Jia Xu’s abstract titled ‘Ethnic Diversity Among The Key Factors Influencing The Development Of Human Gut Microbiota’, was selected from out of almost 800 abstracts as a winner of a travel award for the 11th DOHaD World Congress. The travel award allows Dr Jia Xu to attend the conference, which will be held from 20-23 October 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, and present her excellent research work. The conference presents a unique platform for esteemed scientists and clinicians to exchange and obtain information on the latest breakthroughs in the developmental origins of health and disease.


Background: Gut microbiota plays a significant role in human health and disease, but the factors affecting its acquisition and dynamics in early life have not been ascertained comprehensively in a multi-ethnic study.

Methods: In an Asian multi-ethnic longitudinal study of 106 infants, we studied the influence of 7 factors (ethnicity, mode of delivery, infant feeding type, gestational age, birthweight, gender and maternal education) on the development of gut microbiota in first 2 years of life. Gut microbiota was profiled at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months of age by sequencing the V4 region of 16S rRNA gene.

Results: Mode of delivery, infant feeding type and ethnicity were identified as the major factors influencing the acquisition and temporal dynamics of gut microbiota in first 2 years. Effects of delivery mode on the microbiota lasted until 6M, with infants delivered by caesarean section showing higher diversity and delayed colonization of Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium than those delivered vaginally. Breastmilk feeding was associated with higher abundance of Bacteroides, while mixed feeding (breastmilk and formula milk) enriched Bifidobacterium. Ethnic diversity had a profound impact on the acquisition and longitudinal development of the infant gut microbiota. Its influences were apparent as early as 3M post-birth and remained significant even after adjusting for delivery mode and feeding type. Ethnic differences stayed significant until 12M. Microbiota of Indian infants was characterized by higher abundances of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, while Chinese infants had higher abundances of Bacteroides and Akkermansia.

Conclusion: These findings provide deeper insight into the specific and temporal influences of factors influencing the development of human gut microbiota. It also advocates the consideration of ethnic diversity in future pediatric gut microbiome studies for identification of heritable taxa and precision in probiotic interventions.

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