Wu et al. combine gnotobiotic mice colonized with defined collections of sequenced human gut bacteria with a method for performing whole genome transposon (Tn) mutagenesis to simultaneously identify bacterial genes required for the survival/success of different community members under different dietary conditions. Their analysis yielded a prebiotic that was used to deliberately change the representation of a prominent community member. Their approach has general utility for defining the resource requirements (niches) of microbial citizens of complex communities and for developing new ways for manipulating the properties of these communities. This material relates to a paper that appeared in the Oct. 2 2015, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by M. Wu at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and colleagues was titled, "Genetic determinants of in vivo fitness and diet responsiveness in multiple human gut Bacteroides."
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