Breast milk may be genetically modified to protect an infant’s gut from infections

A gene helps some mothers produce breast milk sugars that are not digested by the infant, but nourish specific bacteria that colonise the babies' guts soon after birth, says a new study.

Secretors and non-secretors what is it?

The gene, which is not active in some mothers, produces a breast milk sugar called secretors . Mothers known as non-secretors have a non-functional fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) gene, which alters the composition of their breast milk sugars and changes how the microbial community, or microbiota, of their infants' guts develop, the study said. Here's why you shouldn t miss out on folic acid when pregnant.

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Which one is healthy in nature?

In no way is the nonsecretor mother's milk less healthy, and their babies are at no greater risk, said senior study author David Mills from the University of California, Davis.

What this work does show us is that the mother's genotype matters, and that it influences the breast milk, which clearly drives the establishment of microbes in the intestines of their babies, Mills said. Here are 8 common mistakes every pregnant woman makes!

What are its future implications?

The research may have applications in a clinical setting for protecting premature infants from a range of intestinal diseases including necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that is the second most common cause of death among premature infants in the US.

The research examined the differences in infant gut microbial populations arising from differences in human milk sugars. The research was conducted using milk samples from 44 mothers. The study appeared in the journal Microbiome. Read about 10 foods that increase breast milk supply in mothers.

Source: IANS

Image Source: Getty Images

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