Environmental and clinical antibiotic resistomes, same only different
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The history of antibiotic use in the clinic is one of initial efficacy followed inevitably by the emergence of resistance. Often this resistance is the result of the capture and mobilization of genes that have their origins in environmental reservoirs. Both antibiotic production and resistance are ancient and widely distributed among microbes in the environment. This deep reservoir of resistance offers the opportunity for gene flow into susceptible disease-causing bacteria. Not all resistance genes are equally successfully mobilized, and some dominate in the clinic. The differences and similarities in resistance mechanisms and associated genes among environments reveal a complex interplay between gene capture and mobilization that requires study of gene diversity and gene product function to fully understand the breadth and depth of resistance and the risk to human health.
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