Antimicrobial resistance: its emergence and transmission

Anim Health Res Rev. 2008 Dec;9(2):115-26. doi: 10.1017/S146625230800159X.


New concepts have emerged in the past few years that help us to better understand the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These include, among others, the discovery of the mutator state and the concept of mutant selection window for resistances emerging primarily through mutations in existing genes. Our understanding of horizontal gene transfer has also evolved significantly in the past few years, and important new mechanisms of AMR transfer have been discovered, including, among others, integrative conjugative elements and ISCR (insertion sequences with common regions) elements. Simultaneously, large-scale studies have helped us to start comprehending the immense and yet untapped reservoir of both AMR genes and mobile genetic elements present in the environment. Finally, new PCR- and DNA sequencing-based techniques are being developed that will allow us to better understand the epidemiology of classical vectors of AMR genes, such as plasmids, and to monitor them in a more global and systematic way.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Colony Count, Microbial / veterinary
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / veterinary*
  • Mutation*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents