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The co-selection of mercury and antibiotic resistance genes in the fish microbiome

Nicole LLoyd.
Pictured: Microbial Biology Ph.D student Nicole Lloyd collecting fish at a mercury contaminated site in Berry's Creek, The Meadowlands, NJ, for analyses of mercury tissue concentration and the fish gut microbiomes.

Keywords: Antibiotics resistance, mercury contamination, gene transfer

The spread of antibiotic resistance genes is one of the biggest threats to human wellbeing of our time. Our lab explore the possibility that selection of mercury resistant bacteria in contaminated environments may lead to the co-selection of antibiotic resistance due the genetic linkage of resistance genes on mobile genetic elements.

A petri dishes with mercury.
Selection of Mercury Resistant Bacteria. Mercury resistant colonies are able to grow in the presence of mercury (left plate) and a control plate (right plate).