The Community Of Micro Organisms Within A Host Individuals Gastrointestinal Tract

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The majority of cells in the human body are not human at all. The 100 trillion prokaryotic cells that make up our microbiota constitute 90% of the cells in our bodies and are derived from more than 40,000 bacterial strains (Forsythe & Kunze, 2012). Bacterial cells reside in animal hosts as commensals, symbionts, or as pathogenic parasites and form a veneer over almost all body surfaces (Stilling et al., 2014). Increasingly, research is showing the importance of host microbiota composition and the bidirectional signaling pathways between the brain and the gut (some of which are epigenetic). These studies elucidate the profound effects this signaling can have on behavior and cognition, and will be the focus of this review (Sommer & Backhed, 2013). The community of micro-organisms within a host individuals gastrointestinal tract, or microbiota, is primarily made up of four bacterial phyla in most mammals – Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria (Costello et al., 2012). Similarly, the microbiome of an organism is the combined genetic material present in all of the various micro-organisms residing in a host. Since 2011, numerous studies have indicated that an altered microbiota in germ free mice (GF) lead to behavioral changes, notably advancing the idea of a microbiota-gut-brain axis (Stilling et al., 2014). It is now clear that certain specific pathologies, neurodevelopment disorders and depression are linked to an altered microbiome (Grenham et al.,

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