Lessons from the Environmental Antibiotic Resistome
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Antibiotic resistance is a global public health issue of growing proportions. All antibiotics are susceptible to resistance. The evidence is now clear that the environment is the single largest source and reservoir of resistance. Soil, aquatic, atmospheric, animal-associated, and built ecosystems are home to microbes that harbor antibiotic resistance elements and the means to mobilize them. The diversity and abundance of resistance in the environment is consistent with the ancient origins of antibiotics and a variety of studies support a long natural history of associated resistance. The implications are clear: Understanding the evolution of resistance in the environment, its diversity, and mechanisms is essential to the management of our existing and future antibiotic resources.
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