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Subspecialties Biochemistry and molecular biology, Genetics and epigenetics, Microbiology and immunology

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Antimicrobial Resistance

Traveling without a ticket in the guts of international jetsetters, bacteria with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may be spreading their resistance genes across the globe. Though the COVID-19 pandemic may have mitigated the issue, borders are beginning to reopen – and eager travelers are flying out once again.

Analyzing the fecal microbiomes of Dutch international travelers, researchers have investigated the abundance, diversity, function, resistome architecture, and context of AMR genes (1). They found significant travel-related acquisition in 56 unique AMR genes, especially in genes with efflux, inactivation, and target replacement resistance mechanisms. Travel destination was also associated with changes to the architecture of the gut resistome.

“These findings provide strong support for international travel as a vector for the global spread of clinically important antimicrobial resistance genes and highlight the need for broader surveillance of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the gut microbiomes of returning travelers,” said Alaric D’Souza, a co-first author of the study (2).

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  1. AW D’Souza et al., Genome Med, 13, 79 (2021). PMID: 34092249.
  2. G Everding (2021). Available at:
About the Author
Liv Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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