The concept of the “sterile” fetus has been challenged in the last five years. In 2016, C Vivek Lal and team reported the existence of an airway microbiome at birth in neonates and speculated that this airway microbiome could have fetal origins. The exact source of the infant microbiome is unknown. Scientific observation that the neonatal microbiome after birth, especially that of the airway, is similar regardless of whether the neonate was delivered vaginally or by cesarean section suggest that the neonatal microbiome signature could possibly be transplacentally derived and acquired in utero.
No studies to date have examined the presence of the fetal lung microbiome in humans from an in uteroenvironment. In this study, scientists Denise Al Alam, Soula Danopoulos, Brendan Grubbs, Nur A’tikah Binte Mohamed Ali, Micheal MacAogain, Sanjay H. Chotirmall, David Warburton, Amit Gaggar, Namasivayam Ambalavanan, and Charitharth Vivek Lal use state-of-the-art molecular approaches to examine, for the first time, the presence of human fetal and placental microbiomes early in gestation.