September 25, 2020
Modern medicine changed in 1928 when penicillin, the first antibiotic was discovered by Alexander Fleming. Unfortunately, since its discovery, increased use of antibiotics has led to a new battle: antibiotic resistance. Researchers have gone back to the source in the hope of finding clues on how to combat this new crisis.
Fleming’s original Penicillium mold still exists, and scientists have regrown this mold in order to sequence its genome. By comparing the genetic sequence of the original specimen to modern strains used to commercially produce antibiotics scientists have discovered some differences.
These differences were found in two types of genes, one kind encodes an enzyme, and the other regulates those enzymes. It is hoped that these differences will help to optimize the design of penicillin and novel antibiotics going forward.
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