16 Apr '12, 7pm

Okay, nobody panic: Scientists discover ancient antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Okay, nobody panic, but scientists have found a stash of bacteria that have never had contact with humans, but are resistant to antibiotics anyway. If this happened in a movie, this would probably end with everyone becoming dead. But I’m sure it’s fine! The bacteria in Lechuguilla Cave, in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Cavern National Park, have been isolated from the surface world for 4 to 7 million years. But the majority of the 93 strains isolated by researchers were resistant to multiple antibiotics — some strains were immune to as many as 14 kinds of commercially available drugs. And some of their methods of resistance had never been seen before. The clear implication: Some bacteria evolve the ability to foil human-made antibiotics, even when they’ve never been exposed. That doesn’t mean we should start giving antibiotics to farm animals willy-nilly, on the theory that resist...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/scientists-discover-ancient-antibio...

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