NDM-1 Superbug the Result of Bad Policies, Not Compelling Evidence for Evolution’s Creative Powers

Recently, the media has been discussing the micro-evolution of a new antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria, dubbed the “NDM-1 superbug.” This seems to be a very sad case of one of those things that evolution is pretty good at doing — making small, incremental improvements upon an enzyme through a step-by step process. That, plus the tendency of bacteria to collect multiple antibiotic resistances, makes this gene a real problem. However, it by no means provides evidence for the ability of evolutionary processes to produce new functions within a cell. The problem is that antibiotics are frequently used — and abused. Beta-lactamases, the enzymes that degrade penicillin and penicillin-like antibiotics (they are all characterized by a “beta-lactam” ring) were around Read More ›