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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2014 Jun;19:25-29. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Antibiotic resistance gene discovery in food-producing animals.

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Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, IA 50010, USA. Electronic address:


Numerous environmental reservoirs contribute to the widespread antibiotic resistance problem in human pathogens. One environmental reservoir of particular importance is the intestinal bacteria of food-producing animals. In this review I examine recent discoveries of antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural animals. Two types of antibiotic resistance gene discoveries will be discussed: the use of classic microbiological and molecular techniques, such as culturing and PCR, to identify known genes not previously reported in animals; and the application of high-throughput technologies, such as metagenomics, to identify novel genes and gene transfer mechanisms. These discoveries confirm that antibiotics should be limited to prudent uses.

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