The antibiotic resistome: the nexus of chemical and genetic diversity

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007 Mar;5(3):175-86. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1614.


Over the millennia, microorganisms have evolved evasion strategies to overcome a myriad of chemical and environmental challenges, including antimicrobial drugs. Even before the first clinical use of antibiotics more than 60 years ago, resistant organisms had been isolated. Moreover, the potential problem of the widespread distribution of antibiotic resistant bacteria was recognized by scientists and healthcare specialists from the initial use of these drugs. Why is resistance inevitable and where does it come from? Understanding the molecular diversity that underlies resistance will inform our use of these drugs and guide efforts to develop new efficacious antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Interspersed Repetitive Sequences / genetics
  • Interspersed Repetitive Sequences / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents