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Researchers: Horizontal gene transfer drives global infectious disease

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From ScienceDaily:

A new study by scientists at the University of Liverpool documents, for the first time, how the ability of bacteria to swap genetic material with each other can directly affect the emergence and spread of globally important infectious diseases.

Known as ‘horizontal gene transfer’, this phenomenon is understood to have played a role in developing the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis. However, the dynamics of AMR transfer through bacterial populations and its direct impact on human disease is poorly understood.

It’s poorly understood, in part, because Darwinism is enjoined on the public instead of a proper appreciation of the many dimensions of evolution.

Plasmids are small circular DNA molecules that can be transferred horizontally between bacteria. They contain the bacterium’s genetic material but are separate from the cell’s chromosomal DNA.

By combining this genomic information from the different Shigella strains with the epidemiological information about the outbreaks, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the transfer of the plasmid was facilitating new epidemics.

Dr Kate Baker, from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, said: “Through this study we’ve been able to show that horizontal gene transfer can rapidly facilitate new epidemics of important pathogens.

“This means that in all areas of AMR research, public health management and surveillance we need to be analysing our pathogen genomes in great detail to understand the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance.”

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global epidemic. In 2014 the World Health Organisation advised that the antibiotics we are reliant on are in danger of becoming obsolete. It is estimated that by the year 2050, deaths attributed to antimicrobial resistance will claim up to ten million lives per year, surpassing those lost to cancer. Paper. (open access) – Kate S. Baker, Timothy J. Dallman, Nigel Field, Tristan Childs, Holly Mitchell, Martin Day, François-Xavier Weill, Sophie Lefèvre, Mathieu Tourdjman, Gwenda Hughes, Claire Jenkins, Nicholas Thomson. Horizontal antimicrobial resistance transfer drives epidemics of multiple Shigella species. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03949-8 More.

File under: How Darwinism holds science back. Splintering lecterns over the supposedly awesome power of natural selection acting on random mutations keeps us from understanding how evolution really works. When we are talking about the internet of bacteria, that’s going to become a big problem.

See also: Horizontal gene transfer: Sorry, Darwin, it’s not your evolution any more

Natural selection: Could it be the single greatest idea ever invented?


What the fossils told us in their own words

Interesting! Are the bacteria subverting the enemy before invading? polistra
It’s poorly understood, in part, because Darwinism is enjoined on the public instead of a proper appreciation of the many dimensions of evolution.
In spite of the fact that there have been thousands of papers published on HGT through plasmid transfer starting well over half a century ago. Plasmids were observed as far back as the 30s, but their origin and impact were not known. The first reference to them as plasmids was in 1952, a year before the structure and function of DNA was discovered. Lederberg, J. (1952). Cell genetics and hereditary symbiosis. Physiological Reviews, 32, 403-430. Allan Keith

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