Monday, June 11, 2007

Bacteria real-time example of evolution


…Writing in the the WSJ (June 8, 2007), Robert Lee Hotz talks about how natural selection and adaptation are at work all the time keeping bacteria alive and resisting our best efforts to poison them.

…Recently, docs formed an international team to identify the genetic changes within Staph allowing it to pass on drug-resistant traits.

…They kept taking blood from a sick man and tracking the genetic changes in the bacteria that was killing him.

…When he first came to the hospital, antibiotics were working against his infection. As he was treated, though, the bacteria formed and reformed to fight the drugs and keep them from working. He eventually died of a bacteria that many, many people harbor.

…The bacteria kept passing on protective mutations, as the scientists termed it.

…This was fast—12 weeks—not over epochs, whatever those are.

…It may take millions of years for an eye to evolve—but this bacteria changes itself in a week, one doc said.

…Nearly 2 million people a year catch bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals. 90,000 die—seven times as many as a decade ago.

…Scientists are trying to find ways to disable this adaptive gene.

…Get on it, people!

…The crud is gaining.

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