Viromes of one year old infants reveal the impact of birth mode on microbiome diversity

Angela McCann, Feargal J. Ryan, Stephen R. Stockdale, Marion Dalmasso, Tony Blake, C. Anthony Ryan, Catherine Stanton, Susan Mills, Paul R. Ross, Colin Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
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Establishing a diverse gut microbiota after birth is being increasingly recognised as important for preventing illnesses later in life. It is well established that bacterial diversity rapidly increases post-partum; however, few studies have examined the infant gut virome/phageome during this developmental period. Weperformed a metagenomic analysis of 20 infant faecal viromes at one year of age to determine whether spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD) or caesarean section (CS) influenced viral composition. We find that birth mode results in distinctly different viral communities, with SVD infants having greater viral and bacteriophage diversity. We demonstrate that CrAssphage is acquired early in life, both in this cohort and two others, although no difference in birth mode is detected. A previous study has shown that bacterial OTU's (operational taxonomic units) identified in the same infants could not discriminate between birth mode at 12 months of age. Therefore, our results indicate that vertical transmission of viral communities from mother to child may play a role in shaping the early life microbiome, and that birth mode should be considered when studying the early life gut virome.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4694
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteriophage
  • Birth mode
  • Infant
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiome
  • Virome


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