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Research Points to Millennia of Antibiotic Resistance in bacteria

Industry News – AM By Lisa M. Keefe, 4/17/2012 Bacteria may have a built-in resistance to antibiotics that can be traced back millions of years, according to research recently published online by the Public Library of Science. Adding to the debate over whether antibiotics should be administered to livestock for reasons other than to treat disease, researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and University of Akron in Ohio, collected and cultured a sample of the microbiome of Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico, from a region of the cave that has been isolated for more than 4 million years, according to the abstract posted online. “We report that, like surface microbes, these bacteria were highly resistant to antibiotics; some strains were resistant to 14 different commercially available antibiotics,” they wrote. “The implications of this study are significant to our understanding of the prevalence of resistance, even in microbiomes isolated from human use of antibiotics. This supports a growing understanding that antibiotic resistance is natural, ancient, and hard wired in the microbial pangenome.”