The Evolution Of Antibiotic Resistance Essay

1677 Words May 4th, 2015 7 Pages
The Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria
Bacterial infections are a leading cause of death all over the world, especially in children and the elderly, whose immune systems are not at their peak. The discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s provided doctors with a powerful weapon against harmful bacteria, often times by inhibiting their protein synthesis or cell wall formation. Within a few years of their use against certain bacteria, however, some antibiotics’ effectiveness began to decline. The relationship between MRSA bacteria and penicillin is one of many cases that demonstrate this. Within a decade of being used against MRSA, penicillin-resistant S. aureus strains became common in hospitals (Mayo Clinic). Because bacteria reproduce at incredibly fast rates and mutations are quite common, resistant bacteria proliferate as a result of natural selection. Every year, more than 2 million Americans become infected with antibiotic resistant-bacteria, and about 23,000 of them die as a result (The New York Times). For years, scientists have and continue to study how bacteria evolve, how to prevent bacteria from becoming antibiotic resistant, and what solutions, if any, exist to counter their resistance.
Bacteria have existed for billions of years. In fact, there is evidence that bacteria were present on Earth about 3.5 billion years ago (Encyclopedia Britannica). Given the amount of time they have existed, bacteria have evolved and continue to evolve to better survive…

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