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Over 6,000 antibiotic resistance genes in gut bacteria identified

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists have identified over 6,000 resistance genes found in that inhabit the human gut.

The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, mainly

Most of these are sensitive to antibiotics, but a significant number of in the human gut have mechanisms that make them resistant to

However, we still lack a mechanistic understanding of the genes that confer resistance to in gut bacteria.

Researchers from in the UK and (INRA)in France, developed a new method to identify resistance genes in gut bacteria by comparing the 3D structures of known resistance enzymes to the proteins that are produced by gut bacteria.

The researchers then applied this method to a catalogue of several million genes of the gut.

Thanks to this method, they have identified more than 6,000 resistance genes that are very different from previously identified genes in pathogenic bacteria.

"Most gut bacteria live in a harmless relationship with the human host. However, the gut is also home to bacteria that can cause in hospitalised patients," said Willem Van Schaik, of the

"Unfortunately, these bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to and we need to understand the processes that contribute to this development," said

"By comparing the structures of known antibiotic resistance proteins to proteins that are produced by the bacteria of the human gut, we found thousands of new antibiotic resistance genes in the human gut, highlighting the immense diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in this environment," he added.

"Most of these genes appeared to be present in bacteria that live in a harmless relationship with the human host, so may not be an immediate threat to human health," said

"However, the continuing use of antibiotics may lead to these resistance genes being transferred to pathogenic bacteria, thereby further reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating infections," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, December 02 2018. 13:55 IST