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Drug Resist Updat. 2000 Aug;3(4):237-245.

The cost of antibiotic resistance from a bacterial perspective.

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Dept. of Bacteriology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden


The emergence, spread and stability of antibiotic resistance in a bacterial population will be determined by several factors including (a) the volume of drug use, (b) the rate of formation of resistant mutants, (c) the biological cost of resistance and (d) the rate and extent of the genetic compensation of the costs. Generally, resistance is associated with a cost, suggesting that the frequency of resistant bacteria might decline when the use of antibiotics is decreased. However, evolution to reduce these costs, without a concomitant loss of resistance, can occur and result in a stabilization of the resistant bacteria in the population. The rate and trajectory of this compensatory evolution is dependent on the bacterial species, the specific resistance mutation and the environmental conditions under which evolution occurs. Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.


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