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Bacteria shown evolving antibiotic resistance in breakthrough video
It's quite alarming to witness.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School recently published an article in the journal Science which shows how bacteria can - and does - evolve to deal with antibiotics. Even extremely high concentrations of antibiotics weren't able to prevent the bacteria's advance.
It's the first time that the concept of bacterial evolution has been demonstrated so clearly in a video. While the entire process took approximately 12 days to unfold in real life, the video speeds up the process so that we can watch it all within 1 minute.
"The experiments, described in the Sept. 9 issue of Science, are thought to provide the first large-scale glimpse of the maneuvers of bacteria as they encounter increasingly higher doses of antibiotics and adapt to survive — and thrive — in them.
To do so, the team constructed a 2-by-4 foot petri dish and filled it with 14 liters of agar, a seaweed-derived jellylike substance commonly used in labs to nourish organisms as they grow.
To observe how the bacterium Escherichia coli adapted to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics, researchers divided the dish into sections and saturated them with various doses of medication. The outermost rims of the dish were free of any drug. The next section contained a small amount of antibiotic — just above the minimum needed to kill the bacteria — and each subsequent section represented a 10-fold increase in dose, with the center of the dish containing 1,000 times as much antibiotic as the area with the lowest dose.
Over two weeks, a camera mounted on the ceiling above the dish took periodic snapshots that the researchers spliced into a time-lapsed montage. The result? A powerful, unvarnished visualization of bacterial movement, death, and survival; evolution at work, visible to the naked eye."
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