Abstract The gut of healthy human neonates is usually devoid of viruses at birth, but quickly becomes colonized, which—in some cases—leads to gastrointestinal disorders1,2,3,4. Here we show that the assembly of the viral community in neonates takes place in distinct steps. Fluorescent staining of virus-like particles purified from infant meconium or early stool samples shows few or no particles, but by one month of life particle numbers increase to 109 per gram, and these numbers seem to persist throughout life5,6,7. We investigated the origin of these viral populations using shotgun metagenomic sequencing of virus-enriched preparations and whole microbial communities, followed by targeted microbiological analyses. Results indicate that, early after birth, pioneer bacteria colonize the infant gut and by one month prophages induced from these bacteria provide the predominant population of virus-like particles. 



Anton Nosik [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

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Citation Liang, G., Zhao, C., Zhang, H. et al. The stepwise assembly of the neonatal virome is modulated by breastfeeding. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2192-1