Soil search suggests broad roots for antibiotic resistance

Genes show up in bacteria from a variety of landscapes but appear distinct from those found in clinically important strains

By Tina Hesman Saey, 15:38 PM November 8, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Despite Star Trek baddies’ claims about its futility, resistance, at least to antibiotics, is everywhere.

Bacteria developing resistance to antibiotic drugs have become a major medical problem worldwide. Despite years of studying the genes that allow bacteria to fight off antibiotics, scientists still aren’t sure where the genes come from in the first place, says Jo Handelsman, a microbiologist at Yale University.

Some people blame soil as the source of antibiotic-resis...

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