Gene-swapping cheese microbes could provide clues to antibiotic resistance in humans

| | August 1, 2017
bleu cheese
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

You and your favorite cheese—whether it’s cheddar, Wensleydale, or a good aged goat brie—have something in common: You’re both home to a constantly evolving menagerie of microbes. The bacteria inside you and your fermented dairy live together in a community called a biome, growing and changing in response to their environments. And they adapt to their homes—a cow’s hide, a chunk of Swiss, or your gut—by stealing their neighbors’ genes.

That genetic transfer has the ability to dramatically change a microbe. … In humans, that’s how antibiotic resistance can emerge—one bug evolves a mutation that helps it survive the onslaught of a drug, and it makes its way into the rest of the community. But to fully understand how resistance evolves, studying superbugs isn’t enough: You need large, diverse bacterial boroughs to understand how bugs siphon off new genes.

The search for lively bacterial communities led Rachel Dutton, a microbiologist at UC San Diego, to cave-aged cheese wheels….

That kind of information could help researchers figure out which genes are most prone to transferring within the human microbiome.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: What gene-swapping cheese microbes could say about antibiotic resistance

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