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New hypothesis: Why bacteria are becoming increasingly more resistant to antibiotics
Date:3/7/2013

According to his theory, bacteria that are non-resistant to antibiotics acquire said resistance accidentally because they take up the DNA of others that are resistant, due to the stress to which they are subjected.

A University of Granada researcher has formulated a new hypothesis concerning an enigma that the scientific community has still not been able to solve and which could revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry: Why are bacteria becoming increasingly more resistant to antibiotics? His work has revealed that the use of antibiotics can even cause non-resistant bacteria to become resistant because they take up the DNA of others that are already resistant.

Mohammed Bakkali, a scientist in the Genetics Department at the Faculty of Science of the UGR, maintains that our abuse of antibiotics "forces" the bacteria to take up the DNA of other bacteria that are resistant to said antibiotics, since the presence of antibiotics exposes them to a great stress. According to the researcher, "In this way, the non-resistant bacteria become resistant completely by accident on ingesting this DNA and can even become much more virulent, partly due to the stress we subject them to when we make an abusive use of antibiotics".

For decades, scientists from all over the world have been researching into when, how and why bacteria take up DNA from other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus becoming also resistant. The answers as to when there is DNA uptake (in unfavourable or stressful circumstances) and as to how the bacteria take it up are clear, but, up until now, "nobody has pinpointed the reason why bacteria ingest this genetic material",as Bakkali points out in an article published in the latest edition of the journal "Archives of Microbiology".

Under normal conditions,a bacterium could have a lot to lose if it 'decides' to take up DNA, since it does not have a 'DNA reader' enabling it to take up only those molecules that are of use t
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Contact: Mohammed Bakkali
mbakkali@ugr.es
34-958-248-926
University of Granada
Source:Eurekalert  

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