Thieving bugs more drug resistantMarch 17th, 2011 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 17 (IANS) Bugs that steal genes from others tend to become more drug resistant than some of their peers.
This ability to ’steal’ snippets of DNA from other species - known as lateral gene transfer - is responsible for the rapid spread of drug resistance among them.
This has been borne out in a study of more than 36 bug species, including those that trigger pneumonia, meningitis, stomach ulcers and plague, reports the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
While most organisms get their genes from their parents just like people do, bacteria and other single-celled creatures also regularly pick up genes from more distant relatives, according to a statement of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre, (NESCent) US.
“By understanding why some genes are more likely to spread from one species to the next, we can better understand how new virulent bacterial strains emerge,” said study co-author Tal Pupko, visiting scientist at the NESCent.
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Tags: bacteria, bacterial strains, bug species, co author, distant relatives, dna, drug resistance, evolutionary synthesis, gene transfer, genes, journal molecular biology, march 17, molecular biology and evolution, organisms, peers, plague, pneumonia, single celled creatures, snippets, stomach ulcers