The Importance Of Microevolution

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When a bacterial infection attacks the body’s immune system, it is common to be prescribed a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics are designed to assist the body with fighting off invading bacteria and rid the body of the infection.

However, with the increasing use of antibiotics, certain types of bacteria are becoming resistant to the medication as prescriptions become more widespread, making the drugs less effective. This selective pressure encourages the bacteria to develop a resistance to the old medication, and may even develop into a ‘super bug’.

Microevolution is the frequency of allele changes within a small species group with traits that help the organism to survive. It can be applied to this development in the form of evolutionary
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If the patient then goes back and receives another course of antibiotics due to feeling unwell again, the bacteria that is already resistant is more likely to survive the next course. In addition to the previous three day survivors, bacteria that has withstood the previous six days of treatment increase the variation of species in the body, making it more difficult to fight off the infection.

If these two new species breed via sexual reproduction, the transfer of the plasmids mixes the genetic material of the two types, creating a new strain of the bacteria, carrying the resistance gene for the antibiotics the originals
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They also target certain bacteria’s cell walls that differentiates them from human cells, weakening their defences by either destroying it or preventing the development of the membrane.

Depending on the type of bacteria attacking the body, a patient may be prescribed a course of either narrow spectrum or broad spectrum antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics target a wider variety of bacteria, for example cephalosporin which belongs to the penicillin group of antibiotics. Where as narrow spectrum antibiotics specifically target certain types of bacteria, for example Azithromyin which belongs to the macrolide antibiotic group.

If the bacteria is passed on to another human, this assists in the migration of gene flow for the newly resistant genes. When this happens, it means that the bacteria will be more difficult for the next person to fight off, which leads to them going to the doctor, and most likely receiving a course of antibiotics, continuing the cycle once again. The World Economic Form has identified antibiotic-resistant bacteria as “arguably the greatest risk of hubris to human health”. (source: World Economic Form

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