According to a HealthDay article, new research has found a rare abnormality in the makeup of bacteria and fungi in an infant’s gut may triple the risk for allergies and asthma in childhood.

The new study suggests that an abnormal combination of germs, present in less than 10 percent of newborns, may undermine immune system function and result in a much higher risk for allergies by two years of age and asthma by age four, the researchers said.

“Previous studies from the last couple of decades have suggested that bacteria in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract might be associated with these conditions,” explained co-senior study author Susan Lynch, director of the Colitis and Crohn’s Disease Microbiome Research Core at the University of California, San Francisco. “However, they were only able with previous technology to evaluate a handful or a few dozen microbes.”

This latest study is the first to harness cutting-edge genetic testing to conduct an in-depth census of both bacterial and fungal content in a newborn’s gut, according to Lynch.