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Over the past few decades, the emergence of multidrug resistance (MDR) to antibiotics in bacteria has led to major difficulties in the management of infected patients. At present, there is a serious lack of development of new antibacterial agents. Mathematical models are one approach to understand how antibiotic usage patterns may be optimized. However, the classical approach to modeling the emergence of MDR relies on the simplifying assumption that resistance is acquired at a constant rate. In their model, Obolski and Hadany introduce the notion of horizontal gene transfer and stress-induced mutation, with antibiotics constituting an environmental stressor of particular relevance. Finally, from this complex mathematical model, the authors propose predictions for minimizing MDR in bacteria depending on strategies of antibiotic treatment.
Please see related article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/89