The millions of microbes that crowd the human intestinal tract are teeming with new antibiotic resistance genes that could jump to disease-causing pathogens, according to researchers from Harvard University.
An artist's conception of microbial
ecology in the gut. Pathogenic bacteria
(green coats) receiving Penicillin
resistance genes from beneficial
gut bacteria (blue rounded chains)

Image courtesy of A. Canossa, M.
Sommer and G. Dantas
They found more than 90 undiscovered bacterial genes capable of conferring antibiotic resistance hiding in microbes harvested from two healthy adults. They report their linkurl:findings; in __Science__ today (August 27). "I thought this was an incredibly cool story," linkurl:Gerry Wright,; McMaster University chemical biologist, told __The Scientist__. "It tells you just how ignorant we are of microbial ecology." Wright, director of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, said that the findings raise several key questions. "If there's so much resistance out there, how come...

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