The population genetics of antibiotic resistance: integrating molecular mechanisms and treatment contexts

Nat Rev Genet. 2010 Jun;11(6):405-14. doi: 10.1038/nrg2778.


Despite efforts from a range of disciplines, our ability to predict and combat the evolution of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is limited. This is because resistance evolution involves a complex interplay between the specific drug, bacterial genetics and both natural and treatment ecology. Incorporating details of the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and ecology into evolutionary models has proved useful in predicting the dynamics of resistance evolution. However, putting these models to practical use will require extensive collaboration between mathematicians, molecular biologists, evolutionary ecologists and clinicians.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / genetics
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetics, Population / trends*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Systems Integration


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents