Antibiotic resistance: it’s bad, but why isn’t it worse?
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Antibiotic natural products are ancient and so is resistance. Consequently, environmental bacteria harbor numerous and varied antibiotic resistance elements. Nevertheless, despite long histories of antibiotic production and exposure, environmental bacteria are not resistant to all known antibiotics. This means that there are barriers to the acquisition of a complete resistance armamentarium. The sources, distribution, and movement of resistance mechanisms in different microbes and bacterial populations are mosaic features that act as barriers to slow this movement, thus moderating the emergence of bacterial pan-resistance. This is highly relevant to understanding the emergence of resistance in pathogenic bacteria that can inform better antibiotic management practices and influence new drug discovery.
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