Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Biol Sci. 2017 Sep 27;284(1863). pii: 20171619. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1619.

Reversing resistance: different routes and common themes across pathogens.

Author information

Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland


Resistance spreads rapidly in pathogen or pest populations exposed to biocides, such as fungicides and antibiotics, and in many cases new biocides are in short supply. How can resistance be reversed in order to prolong the effectiveness of available treatments? Some key parameters affecting reversion of resistance are well known, such as the fitness cost of resistance. However, the population biological processes that actually cause resistance to persist or decline remain poorly characterized, and consequently our ability to manage reversion of resistance is limited. Where do susceptible genotypes that replace resistant lineages come from? What is the epidemiological scale of reversion? What information do we need to predict the mechanisms or likelihood of reversion? Here, we define some of the population biological processes that can drive reversion, using examples from a wide range of taxa and biocides. These processes differ primarily in the origin of revertant genotypes, but also in their sensitivity to factors such as coselection and compensatory evolution that can alter the rate of reversion, and the likelihood that resistance will re-emerge upon re-exposure to biocides. We therefore argue that discriminating among different types of reversion allows for better prediction of where resistance is most likely to persist.


antimicrobials; biocides; fungicides; reversing resistance

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center