PerspectiveMicrobiology

Antibiotic Resistance, Not Shaken or Stirred

Science  23 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6050, pp. 1713-1714
DOI: 10.1126/science.1212449

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Summary

James Bond preferred vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, displaying impressive discriminatory power. Bacteria may be similarly discerning. Zhang et al. (1) abandoned the standard lab practice of growing bacteria in shaking homogeneous liquid cultures in favor of fabricated microenvironments and report, on page 1764 of this issue, that bacteria can tell the difference. They evolve antibiotic resistance far more rapidly in the structured environment. Evolution seems to work differently in the microenvironment, and perhaps more like evolution in the real world.