Revisiting Antibiotic Resistance: Mechanistic Foundations to Evolutionary Outlook

Chowdhury M. Hasan, Debprasad Dutta, An N.T. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Antibiotics are the pivotal pillar of contemporary healthcare and have contributed towards its advancement over the decades. Antibiotic resistance emerged as a critical warning to public wellbeing because of unsuccessful management efforts. Resistance is a natural adaptive tool that offers selection pressure to bacteria, and hence cannot be stopped entirely but rather be slowed down. Antibiotic resistance mutations mostly diminish bacterial reproductive fitness in an environment without antibiotics; however, a fraction of resistant populations ‘accidentally’ emerge as the fittest and thrive in a specific environmental condition, thus favouring the origin of a successful resistant clone. Therefore, despite the time-to-time amendment of treatment regimens, antibiotic resistance has evolved relentlessly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we are rapidly approach-ing a ‘post-antibiotic’ era. The knowledge gap about antibiotic resistance and room for progress is evident and unified combating strategies to mitigate the inadvertent trends of resistance seem to be lacking. Hence, a comprehensive understanding of the genetic and evolutionary foundations of antibiotic resistance will be efficacious to implement policies to force-stop the emergence of resistant bacteria and treat already emerged ones. Prediction of possible evolutionary lineages of resistant bacteria could offer an unswerving impact in precision medicine. In this review, we will discuss the key molecular mechanisms of resistance development in clinical settings and their spontaneous evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Adaptation
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Bactericide
  • Bacteriostatic
  • Clonal interference
  • Compensatory evolution
  • Drug interaction
  • Epistasis
  • Evolution
  • Mutant selection window

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