Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resistance genes in bear feces

Polar bears living in the pristine Svalbard area of Norway have a low diversity of bacteria in their feces, harboring mostly anaerobic bacteria from the genus Clostridia, and very few ampicillin resistance alleles.

"The presence of antibiotic resistance genes has previously been described in bacteria taken from the feces of deer, foxes, pigs, dogs and cats. The Barents Sea population of polar bears is located in an area that is sparsely populated by humans. This enables us to study an ecosystem with little human impact and should allow us to determine whether these genes are naturally occurring or are caused by exposure to human antibiotics."

From the current edition of BMC MicBMC Microbiology 2010, 10:10
Bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Arctic Svalbard

Also picked up by some news sources - eg Reuters

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