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Bacteria can adapt, survive and grow in the presence of antibiotics. That's well understood, and many studies have investigated how bacteria evolve to become resistant to single drugs. The evolution of multi-drug resistance is a more complex process. New research provides understanding on how bacteria survived in the past, as they adapted to other drugs and other environments, influences how they respond and thrive under future conditions.
The study used the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, giving the bacterial populations the chance to evolve resistance to different two-drug sequences of three antibiotics that are commonly used in clinical practice. The authors monitored the evolution of resistance over time and sequenced the bacteria's genomes to help understand the genetic basis for the resistance. Comparison of the results suggests that two different populations of bacteria may develop higher or lower levels of resistance to an antibiotic (relative to...
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