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Understanding antibiotic resistance
Understanding antibiotic resistance

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Week 4: Why are so many bacteria resistant to antibiotics?

Introduction

Last week you learned that acquired resistance can result from mutation or horizontal gene transfer. This week you will learn more about both of these processes before considering why antibiotic resistance arises and spreads so rapidly.

Begin this week by watching the first 2.40 minutes of the following Ted Talks video which shows how bacteria can acquire and spread antibiotic resistance.

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Video 1 An introduction to the acquisition and spread of antibiotic resistance.
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • explain how genetic mutations can give rise to antibiotic resistance that can be inherited
  • describe the horizontal gene transfer mechanisms that allow antibiotic resistance to be transferred between bacteria
  • discuss how evolution and natural selection maintain antibiotic resistance in bacteria.