Saturday, September 10, 2016

WATCH: Bacteria Invade Antibiotics And Transform Into Superbugs


If you've ever wanted to watch a superbug evolve before your very eyes, you're in luck. Researchers filmed an experiment that created bacteria a thousand times more drug-resistant than their ancestors. In the time-lapse video, a white bacterial colony creeps across an enormous black petri dish plated with vertical bands of successively higher doses of antibiotic.
The colony pauses when it hits the first band of antibiotic, creating a stark border between the white colony and the black petri dish. Then the bacteria start to edge their way into the toxic soup. More dots appear and they start growing, racing to the next, stronger band of antibiotic. The bacteria are evolving. After almost two weeks of real time have passed, they've become resistant to the strongest antibiotic and completely taken over the kitchen-table-sized petri dish.
We know dangerous bacteria are getting stronger all the time and that it's our fault because of our excessive and indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Each year, 23,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of superbug infections. But we typically don't get to see superbugs created.
For most people, evolution is just conceptual, says Tami Lieberman, an evolutionary microbiologist at MIT. She and her Ph.D. adviser, Roy Kishony at Harvard Medical School, wanted something that would make the evolution of superbugs seem more concrete. "The goal was to see evolution, not to abstract it," she says.
Their video and report were published Thursday in the journal Science.

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