March 12, 2013 | 3
Image of the Week #83, March 12th, 2013:
From: CDC’s “Resistance Nightmare:” A View from the Trenches by Judy Stone at Molecules to Medicine.
Source: CDC, on Wikipedia Commons
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could change your hair color on the genetic level by simply bumping into the blonde of your choice on the subway? It may sound absurd, but bacteria can do just that in a process called conjugation. By sidling up to another bacterium, one cell that has developed a handy trait, say, antibiotic resistance, can pass the gene that’s responsible to its neighbor. It’s this very trait that is raising alarms nationwide as the emergence of a new family of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as CREs gains a foothold in our hospitals and raises the possibility of spreading an antibiotic-resistant gene from bacteria like Klebsiella, pictured above, to something more ubiquitous, like E. coli.