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NIH – Antibiotic Resistance

“This shift from a primitive genetic free-for-all to modern organisms must by all accounts have been one of the most profound happenings in the whole of evolutionary history.” — Carl Woese

Look at: Superbugs: An Evolving Concern

In Module 6 we study the evolution of simple life forms including bacteria. In this lab we explore the medical consequences of the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasing problem for several reasons. Not only are antibiotics inappropriately used for treating human infections, but the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed has also contributed to the development of resistant strains of bacteria.

In this lab you are asked to view Deb’s story, an Internet interview with a young woman who developed TB that was resistant to several different antibiotics. Then watch three short videos describing a bacterial growth experiment using antibiotics. After you have watched the videos answer the following questions.

1.Briefly summarize the results.

2.What is the reason for the differential pattern of growth observed in each of the different plates?

3. How is this laboratory an example of natural selection in action?
4. Has this assignment changed your thinking about the use of antibiotics? Relate Deb’s story to the laboratory experiment.

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