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Trends Microbiol. 2012 Apr;20(4):157-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2012.01.002. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Antibiotic resistance is ancient: implications for drug discovery.

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  • 1M.G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main St W., Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.


An unfailing observation over the past 70 years is that resistance to all antibiotics emerges eventually after use in the clinic. Where does this resistance come from? Recent work has shown that antibiotic resistance genes are common in metagenomes of ancient sediments. This prevalence of resistance, well before the use of antibiotics, denotes the importance of taking microbial chemical ecology and deep metagenomic profiling into account in the development and use of antibiotics.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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