Antibiotic resistant bacteria forming rapidly.
Bacteria is evolving, and FAST! This is a growing concern for scientists, but if they can see exactly how they evolve they may be able to stop it.
Researchers at Indiana University have produced the first images of bacteria "extending harpoons" to snare and absorb bits of DNA. One of the main ways bacteria evolves is through DNA uptake, or horizontal gene transfer. This allows the bacteria to latch onto DNA and incorporate it into their own genome and thus become antibiotic resistant. The bacteria then share the snippets with each other spreading the new ability throughout the population.
"Horizontal gene transfer is an important way that antibiotic resistance moves between bacterial species, but the process has never been observed before, since the structures involved are so incredibly small," says Ankur Dalia, senior author of the study. "It's important to understand this process, since the more we understand about how bacteria share DNA, the better our chances are of thwarting it." (Irving, 2018)
The new study has focued on preventing the bacteria to absorb anything from the DNA rather then stop it from sharing its new information, which is what past research has typically focused on.
The researchers used fluorescent dyes to paint the bacteria and DNA fragments and were able to capture the bacteria extending out their "harpoons" and reeling them back through tiny pores.
These antibiotic resistant bacteria are also referred to as "super-bugs" and are one of the biggest issues facing humanity today. The over prescription and over use of antibiotics in the past few decades has caused the bacteria to evolve and become resistant to them.
Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to even the best antibiotics, leaving scientists searching high and low for new ones in nature. Potential bacteria has shown up in berries, honey, maple syrup, human breast milk, fungi, frog skin and platypus milk. Scientists are currently developing a range of new materials and drugs to fight the superbugs.
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Irving, M. (2018, June 12). First vision of bacteria "harpooning" DNA to accelerate evolution. Retrieved from https://newatlas.com/bacteria-harpoon-dna-antibiotic-resistance/54993/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018-06-12 143651 USA Daily Basic 2018-06-12 144739 Gastric bypass surgery in a pill points to new treatment for diabetes&utm_content=2018-06-12 143651 USA Daily Basic 2018-06-12 144739 Gastric bypass surgery in a pill points to new treatment for diabetes CID_cbe037b72a97ecdf80257cad64e5d3e8&utm_source=Campaign Monitor&utm_term=First vision of bacteria harpooning DNA to accelerate evolution