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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2002;56:139-65. Epub 2002 Jan 30.

Evolution of drug resistance in Candida albicans.

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Department of Botany, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario, L5L 1C6, Canada.


The widespread deployment of antimicrobial agents in medicine and agriculture is nearly always followed by the evolution of resistance to these agents in the pathogen. With the limited availability of antifungal drugs and the increasing incidence of opportunistic fungal infections, the emergence of drug resistance in fungal pathogens poses a serious public health concern. Antifungal drug resistance has been studied most extensively with the yeast Candida albicans owing to its importance as an opportunistic pathogen and its experimental tractability relative to other medically important fungal pathogens. The emergence of antifungal drug resistance is an evolutionary process that proceeds on temporal, spatial, and genomic scales. This process can be observed through epidemiological studies of patients and through population-genetic studies of pathogen populations. Population-genetic studies rely on sampling of the pathogen in patient populations, serial isolations of the pathogen from individual patients, or experimental evolution of the pathogen in nutrient media or in animal models. Predicting the evolution of drug resistance is fundamental to prolonging the efficacy of existing drugs and to strategically developing and deploying novel drugs.

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