Remote resistance

The Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico, one of the deepest and largest in the world has remained isolated from human contact for millions of years and yet scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, have discovered a whole tranche of bacteria resistant to modern antibiotics in this remote environment. "Our study shows that antibiotic resistance is hard-wired into bacteria, it could be billions of years old, but we have only been trying to understand it for the last 70 years," explains research leader Gerry Wright. "This has important clinical implications. It suggests that there are far more antibiotics in the environment that could be found and used to treat currently untreatable infections."