Decoding Superbug Evolution

Randall Mayes | Design & Trend | September 26, 2014

The spread of antibiotic-resistance pathogens and hospital-related infections have become a serious threat.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one such infection, and as many as one in nine die as a result, reports ScienceDaily.

Klebsiella pneumonia is one of the superbugs scientists are combating. It is the most common species of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in the United States. CREs are resistant to nearly all antibiotics, have high mortality rates and the ability to spread their resistance to other bacteria.  Microbiologists at the Sandia National Laboratories recently sequenced the entire genome of a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain to better understand the pathogen's mechanisms of resistance.

"Once we had the entire genome sequenced, it was a real eye opener to see the concentration of so many antibiotic resistant genes and so many different mechanisms for accumulating them," said Kelly Williams, a bioinformatics specialist at Sandia. "Just sequencing this genome unlocked a vault of information about how genes move between bacteria and how DNA moves within the chromosome."...