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Research Project: Characterizing Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry Production Environments

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Title: Environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance: Assessment of basic science gaps

item SMALLA, KONNY - Julius Kuhn Institute
item Cook, Kimberly - Kim
item DJORDJEVIC, STEVEN - University Of Technology Sydney
item KLUMPER, ULI - University Of Exeter
item GILLINGS, MICHAEL - Macquarie University

Submitted to: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2018
Publication Date: 10/2/2018
Citation: Smalla, K., Cook, K.L., Djordjevic, S., Klumper, U., Gillings, M. 2018. Environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance: Assessment of basic science gaps. FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

Interpretive Summary: Antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems facing medical practice in the 21st Century. Historical approaches to managing resistance have often focused on individual patients,specific pathogens, and particular resistance phenotypes. However, it is increasingly recognized that resistance is a complex ecological and evolutionary problem. As such,understanding the dynamics of resistance requires integration of data on the diverse DNA elements involved, their interactions with different selective agents, and their dissemination through cells, hosts and environments. This perspective paper identifies key knowledge gaps in our understanding of resistance phenomena, and outlines research questions that could be addressed to help us manage resistance into the future.

Technical Abstract: The rise of resistance to almost all classes of antibiotics poses a major threat to modern health practice. Understanding and controlling the ongoing dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria is arguably one of the most pressing tasks for human health in the 21st Century . Like many other pressing human problems, investigating resistance involves examining complex, dynamic processes that reflect global changes in microbial communities induced by humanity. There is a pressing need to gather comprehensive knowledge about the diversity and dissemination of mobile DNAs. Characterizing complete plasmid sequences and understanding the mechanisms that generate mobile DNAs should be a priority. Understanding the flux of DNA elements from the environmental resistome into pathogens and commensals is also important . However, in many areas, we still lack fundamental information about the origins, dissemination and maintenance of resistance. To understand these dynamics, we will need to integrate complex data sets that span different biological, temporal and spatial scales.