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The Development of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Here is an amazing short video for those interested in seeing how bacteria mutate and grow when exposed to antibiotics - and evolving to become superbugs. Researchers filmed an experiment that created bacteria a thousand times more drug-resistant than their ancestors. In the time-lapse video, a white bacterial colony (E.coli bacteria) creeps across an enormous black petri dish plated with vertical bands of successively higher doses of antibacterial drugs (antibiotics).

How they did it: The researchers imaged the E. coli bacteria every 10 minutes for 10 days as the microbes expanded across the plate. You can see that the bacteria paused briefly at the boundaries of increasingly stronger antibiotic concentrations until a mutant bacteria struck out into the stronger antibiotic territory. By challenging the bacteria with differing doses of antibiotic, the team demonstrated that E. coli evolve higher resistance more quickly if they first encounter an intermediate, rather than a high, concentration of antibiotic. It's a beautiful, yet horrifying video. NOTE: the bacteria grows on agar, which is a thick, clear substance that comes from seaweed and is used for growing bacteria in scientific research. From Harvard Medical School, on YOUTUBE:

From NPR:  WATCH: Bacteria Invade Antibiotics And Transform Into Superbugs

In the time-lapse video, a white bacterial colony creeps across an enormous black petri dish plated with vertical bands of successively higher doses of antibiotic. The colony pauses when it hits the first band of antibiotic, creating a stark border between the white colony and the black petri dish. Then the bacteria start to edge their way into the toxic soup. More dots appear and they start growing, racing to the next, stronger band of antibiotic. The bacteria are evolving. After almost two weeks of real time have passed, they've become resistant to the strongest completely taken over the kitchen-table-sized petri dish.

We know dangerous bacteria are getting stronger all the time and that it's our fault because of our excessive and indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Each year, 23,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of superbug infections. But we typically don't get to see superbugs created.... Their video and report were published Thursday in the journal Science. 

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