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Microbe vs. Microbe
Jamais Cascio, 28 May 05

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- or MRSA -- is an antibiotic-resistant form of the common microbe. Staph infections can be dangerous to people already ill or injured, and the proliferation of the antibiotic-resistant form is proving a serious headache to medical professionals. But a newly-discovered deep ocean bacterium, Actinomycete verrucosispora maris, produces a unique antibiotic chemical, abyssomicin C, able to kill MRSA and, potentially, other antibiotic-resistant "superbugs."

The most notable aspect of this discovery is the increased attention being paid to natural systems in our search for more effective medicines. In this particular case, the isolation of ocean microbes has meant that land-based bacteria have had no chance to evolve any kind of resistance to the deep sea antibiotics.

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