Mike the Mad Biologist

One of the little things I liked about Rick Weiss’ cefquinome article was a diagram about how antibiotic resistant strains evolve.

One of the confusing things about the evolution of resistance (and natural selection, for that matter) is the notion that the evolution of resistance happens among individuals within populations. This graphic from the Washington Post lays that out quite nicely:

GR2007030500018

It might be good for students too.

Comments

  1. #1 Steven
    March 10, 2007

    Bacteria can pass resistance to each other via plasmids right?

  2. #2 Mike the Mad Biologist
    March 11, 2007

    Steven,

    yes, but the rate of plasmid transfer is usually very low, so, in effect, it should be thought of as a funky kind of mutation. In other words, plasmid transfer isn’t infectious, in the way that a virus is.

    As with all things in biology, there are obviously exceptions.

  3. #3 Sandra Porter
    March 13, 2007

    There are chemical signals that increase the rate of plasmid transfer. I don’t know if antibiotics have this kind of effect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some do.

    (I used to work on this – except the transfer was from bacteria to plants.)

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    September 8, 2008

    There are chemical signals that increase the rate of plasmid transfer. I don’t know if antibiotics have this kind of effect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some do.

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    September 8, 2008

    There are chemical signals that increase the rate of plasmid transfer. I don’t know if antibiotics have this kind of effect,

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    September 8, 2008

    rate of plasmid transfer. I don’t know if antibiotics

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    February 17, 2009

    One of the confusing things about the evolution of resistance (and natural selection, for that matter) is the notion that the evolution of resistance happens among individuals within populations. This graphic from the Washington Post lays that out quite nicely:

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