Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Researchers Discover the Non-Evolution of MRSA

Human neutrophil ingesting MRSA. Image courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, public domain.

Joel Kontinen

Antibiotic resistance is a prominent argument used by evolutionists. While the journal Nature acknowledged in 2011 that research results “show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use,” the argument has not become extinct.

In 2012, research published in the Journal PLoS ONE found that bacteria that had been isolated from human contact for more than four million years” in a cave in New Mexico were already resistant to antibiotics."

The date is suspect but the discovery – as well as others after it – nonetheless suggested that evolution had nothing to do with antibiotic resistance.

A recent study published in the journal Genome Biology shows that MRSA (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) “emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice,” as Science Daily puts it.

The article goes on to say:

The researchers found that S. aureus acquired the gene that confers methicillin resistance -- mecA -- as early as the mid-1940s -- fourteen years before the first use of methicillin.”

While still giving the nod to evolution, Science Daily merely relates how MRSA appeared:

To uncover the origins of the very first MRSA and to trace its evolutionary history, the researchers sequenced the genomes of a unique collection of 209 historic S. aureus isolates. The oldest of these isolates were identified over 50 years ago by the S. aureus reference laboratory of Public Health England and have been stored ever since in their original freeze-dried state. The researchers also found genes in these isolates that confer resistance to numerous other antibiotics, as well as genes associated with decreased susceptibility to disinfectants.”

Bacteria are known to borrow stuff from other bacteria, but horizontal gene transfer or using pre-existing genetic material is not Darwinian evolution.


BioMed Central. 2017. MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered. Science Daily. (20 July).