The intestines of animals are typically colonized by a complex, relatively stable microbiota that influences health and fitness, but the underlying mechanisms of colonization remain poorly understood. As a typical animal, the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is associated with a consistent set of commensal bacterial species, yet the reason for this consistency is unknown. We use gnotobiotic flies, genetics, microscopy, and microbiology techniques to examine the development and maintenance of a defined region in the Drosophila foregut that selects and maintains a multispecies community of bacteria with strain-level specificity.

How is exquisite regulation achieved? What does the host control? How do bacterial interactions affect the community composition? How do these relationships evolve?

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