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Baby's First Microbe

To study how babies develop their microbiomes — fetuses are thought to develop in a bacteria-free environment — Rob Knight and his colleagues characterized the microbiomes of babies delivered both vaginally and by Caesarean section using multiplexed 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. In PNAS, they report that vaginally delivered infants have microbial communities that are similar to their mothers' vaginal microbiota while C-section infants have microbial communities similar to skin microbiota — perhaps from the first person who held the infant, one of the researchers, Noah Fierer, tells the UK's Press Association. The authors write that this could "explain why susceptibility to certain pathogens is often higher in C-section than in vaginally delivered infants."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.