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Mummies Hosted Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bacteria Enterococcus faecalisSAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA—Analysis of DNA collected from the guts of several mummies shows that they contained bacteria that are resistant to most of today’s antibiotics, according to a report in New Scientist. Tasha Santiago-Rodriguez of California Polytechnic State University and her team collected samples from three Inca mummies dated to the tenth to fourteenth centuries, and six mummies from Italy, dated to between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The findings suggest that the genes for resistance existed in bacteria in the human gut before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, and therefore before antibiotic use became common. “When you think about it, almost all these antibiotics are naturally produced, so it makes sense to find antibiotic genes as well,” Santiago-Rodriguez said. For more, go to "Ötzi the Iceman Carried Ulcer-Causing Bacteria."

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