A Method for Assessing the Reservoirs of Antibiotic Resistance Genes
Howard Ochman of the University of Texas in the U.S. will develop an approach to identify bacteria that can spread antibiotic resistance genes to other bacteria and harm human health. Most methods for monitoring antibiotic resistance are used once resistance has occurred. Here they will measure the capacity for developing resistance, which should help better evaluate how antibiotic resistance persists, spreads and circulates on a global scale. They will develop a simple method based on a single-cell technology to link a marker rRNA gene, for classifying the bacterial species, with a gene known to confer antibiotic resistance. They will use this method to identify antibiotic resistance gene-carrying bacteria within microbial communities comprising trillions of cells, and analyze how it spreads through a mixed bacterial population.