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Following evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance in real time

A new study reports the development of the 'morbidostat', a device that allows for continuous culture of bacteria under a constant drug selection pressure using computer feedback control of antibiotic concentration. This device, together with bacterial whole-genome sequencing, allowed the authors to follow the evolution of resistance-conferring mutations in Escherichia coli populations in real time, providing support for deterministic evolution of resistance in some situations.

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Figure 1: The morbidostat applies a continuous selective pressure to the bacterial population.


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Correspondence to Michael B Elowitz.

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Rosenthal, A., Elowitz, M. Following evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance in real time. Nat Genet 44, 11–13 (2012).

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