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You are here News Science Antibiotic-resistant bacteria first emerged at least 450 million years ago

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria first emerged at least 450 million years ago

drug resistamt bacteria go back 450m yearsSuperbugs, or enterococci bacteria, have been honing their defensive capabilities for at least 450 million years.

As a new survey of the evolution of antibiotic resistance revealed, the earliest relatives of modern superbugs -- microbes undeterred by antibiotics -- emerged prior to the arrival of the dinosaurs.

"By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today's enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today," researcher Ashlee M. Earl, leader of the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad Institute, said in a news release. "Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread."

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