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Antibiotic resistance linked to ‘sex lives’ of Bacteria

The resistance against antibiotic drugs in some bacteria is the result of their peculiar sex lives,a new study published said.

Written by Agencies | London |
June 12, 2009 12:35:37 pm

The resistance against antibiotic drugs in some bacteria is the result of their peculiar sex lives,a new study published said.

Scientists from Imperial College here studied reproduction of Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria which causes pneumonia and bacterial meningitis and found that during the process it was also picking DNA from other species of the microbe.

“Bacteria have very peculiar sex lives. When humans have kids they mix up their DNA with that of their partner,but bacteria can pick up DNA from all sorts of places,even other species.”

Our research shows that bacteria which do this,that is undergo sex,with their own and other species are more likely to develop resistance to antibiotics,protecting them from being killed by these drugs,” said Dr William Hanage,the lead author of the study which is published in today’s edition of ‘Science’ journal.

The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is becoming a major challenge for the scientists as drugs are losing their efficacy for these bacterial infections.

Pneumococcal infections cause approximately one million deaths every year globally and the bacteria are becoming resistant to many antibiotics,making treatment increasingly difficult,the researchers was quoted as saying by the paper.

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