Skip to main content

In Uterome?

Infants may not be so sterile, as some researchers are now finding that fetuses may be seeded with bacteria during pregnancy, writes Carl Zimmer at the New York Times.

Initially, infants were thought to obtain their microbiota during birth and afterward. But a few years ago, Zimmer notes, researchers began to see hints that that may not be the case. For example, he writes that Esther Jiménez Quintana from Complutense University of Madrid and her colleagues uncovered bacteria in the amniotic fluid, placenta, and umbilical cord blood of healthy infants while the University of Florida's Josef Neu and his team found that newborn's stool contained a plethora of bacteria.

Though how the microbiome develops is unknown, researchers like Neu are examining how it affects fetuses and how it could be altered to prevent early labor or to boost the immune system of the baby after birth, Zimmer adds.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.