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Origin Of The Antibiotic Resistance Genes Identified, Could Lead To New Antibiotics

First Posted: Jun 19, 2017 05:10 AM EDT

The researchers have been looking for ways how to combat the antibiotic-resistant superbugs. With this, they must find the origin of the resistance genes. The breakthrough is that the scientists have traced the origin of the antibiotic resistance genes now.

The findings of the discovery were published in Nature Communications. The study was led by researchers from the Technical University of Denmark and was conducted at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability. The scientists discovered that the antibiotic resistance genes originate from the same place as the antibiotic compounds. One example of this is from a group of soil known as Actinobacteria.

Science Daily reports that over three-fourths of all current antibiotics that cure human infections come from are produced by Actinobacteria. Thes also carry the antibiotic resistance genes.

Postdoc Xinglin Jiang from DTU Biosustain said that it has been suspected that pathogens can obtain resistance genes from Actinobacteria for half a century. He further said that now with the 100 percent identical genes, they find the smoking gun.

The researchers examined the DNA sequence around the resistance genes. They discovered how the resistance genes transfer to a new mechanism called "carry back." This is where the pathogen has a primitive form of "sex" with the Actinobacterium and then takes up resistance genes after it dies. The pathogen could become resistant and harm humans in the next infection.

This understanding of the origin of the antibiotic resistance genes could lead to the development of new antibiotics. Tilmann Weber, one of the researchers, said that they cannot stop this gene transfer. On the other hand, if one knows which resistance genes pathogens may conceal, one could produce the antibiotic treatment. This could also lead to the creation of new antibiotics with other properties that pathogens do not have a defense against, according to Science Alert. 

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