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DNA Chips Spot, Help Track Antibiotic Resistance
November 9, 2005
A genetic chip that detects more
than 100 antimicrobial-resistance genes in bacteria has been developed by
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists in Georgia.
The DNA chip, called a DNA microarray, is a small glass slide that allows
researchers to determine the presence or absence of particular DNA sequences in
Cray developed the DNA microarray to detect genes that make bacteria
resistant to antibiotics. The scientists are based at the ARS
Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit in Athens, Ga.
Antimicrobial compounds, or antibiotics, have been used for years to fight
bacterial infections. But some bacterial pathogens, like Salmonella and
Campylobacter, and other intestinal bacteria, like Escherichia
coli and Enterococcus, are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Unfortunately, under the right conditions, DNA that's linked to resistance
may be exchanged between bacteria--including those bacteria responsible for
animal and human infections--when they come together. Scientists need to know
which bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and how bacteria continue to
develop resistance to new antibiotics.
The researchers use the microarrays to track resistant genes in bacteria
from farm and slaughter facility samples. According to Frye, this information
will help identify possible points to target for intervention strategies to
prevent the development and spread of resistance.
more about the research in the November 2005 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.