02 Sep '11, 10am

Antibiotic resistance found in ancient bacteria highlights need to use antibiotics sparingly

An analysis of 30,000-year-old bacteria whose DNA has been recovered from the Yukon permafrost in Canada shows that they were able to resist antibiotics. Antibiotics, before they became used as drugs, were natural products. The new finding is the first direct evidence that antibiotic resistance is a widespread natural phenomenon that preceded the modern medical use of antibiotics. Experts had long predicted this on theoretical grounds, but they say the new finding underlines the need to use antibiotics sparingly. "The fact that the genes for resistance are so ancient and widespread means there is no easy solution to the problem of resistance - we will never invent a super-antibiotic that clears everything up," said Mr Martin Blaser, a microbiologist at New York University. DNA from the ancient bacteria was analysed by Dr Gerard Wright of McMaster University in Ontario, who...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/Worldinbrief/EDC110902-0...

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