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Microbe Hall of Fame

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There are some beautiful new pictures on the New Scientist website of the top ten superbug supervillains. Each superbug has a mugshot along with a quick description of why it’s so dangerous.

Most of the bacterial names have “drug resistant” or “antibiotic resistant” now incorporated in front of the name. This is because drug resistance is not an integral part of the bacterial species, but  is often carried around separate from the main genome on a little loop of DNA called a plasmid. For bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus there will be some members of the species with the antibiotic-resistant plasmid and some without. The resistant forms of the bacteria are called MRSA, but other than the added resistance they will be identical to other, less harmful, Staphylococcus aureus.

Species labelling tends to be a lot more fluid in bacteria anyway.

So if you need some beautiful microbe pictures in your life, take a look at the link. I think my favourite picture is the Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

S.E. Gould About the Author: A biochemist with a love of microbiology, the Lab Rat enjoys exploring, reading about and writing about bacteria. Having finally managed to tear herself away from university, she now works for a small company in Cambridge where she turns data into manageable words and awesome graphs. Follow on Twitter @labratting.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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