Since the discovery and clinical application of antibiotics, pathogens and the human microbiota have faced a near continuous exposure to these selective agents. A well-established consequence of this exposure is the evolution of multidrug-resistant pathogens, which can become virtually untreatable. Less appreciated are the concomitant changes in the human microbiome in response to these assaults and their contribution to clinical resistance problems. Studies have shown that pervasive changes to the human microbiota result from antibiotic treatment and that resistant strains can persist for years. Additionally, culture-independent functional characterization of the resistance genes from the microbiome has demonstrated a close evolutionary relationship between resistance genes in the microbiome and in pathogens. Application of these techniques and novel cultivation methods are expected to significantly expand our understanding of the interplay between antibiotics and the microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-563
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


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