Twin study suggests environment has more influence on oral microbiome than genetics
A study from China has examined factors influencing the oral microbiome. To investigate these factors, pairs of twins and their mothers were enrolled.
Studies have shown that infectious oral diseases can be caused by an overall imbalance of the oral microbiome, and during childhood the microbiome experiences change due to a number of factors. The purpose of this study was to use twins to observe the impact of genetic and environmental factors, as well as describing the bacterial profiles associated with dental caries.
16 twin pairs were selected for the study, seven monozygotic and nine dizygotic. The ages of the twins varied between three and eleven. For the experiment they were split into primary dentition and mixed dentition groups. Samples of supragingival plaques and caries were collected and analysed. It was found that children with caries had a higher portion of Actinobacteria than caries-free ones. The mothers of the twins involved in the study were found to have a higher portion of Treponema, which the researcherslink to adult periodontitis.
Researchers found that the oral microbiomes of co-twins were very similar, and there was no significant difference between monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results also suggested that environmental factors play a larger role than genetic ones based on the differences between mothers and their children. Lastly, although there were a number of differences between the various groups in the study, the researchers did not find any ‘special bacterium’ that was specific to a particular group. This paper appeared in Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.