Limited dissemination of the wastewater treatment plant core resistome

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Horizontal gene transfer is a major contributor to the evolution of bacterial genomes and can facilitate the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes between environmental reservoirs and potential pathogens. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are believed to play a central role in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes. However, the contribution of the dominant members of the WWTP resistome to resistance in human pathogens remains poorly understood. Here we use a combination of metagenomic functional selections and comprehensive metagenomic sequencing to uncover the dominant genes of the WWTP resistome. We find that this core resistome is unique to the WWTP environment, with <10% of the resistance genes found outside the WWTP environment. Our data highlight that, despite an abundance of functional resistance genes within WWTPs, only few genes are found in other environments, suggesting that the overall dissemination of the WWTP resistome is comparable to that of the soil resistome.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8452
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
Number of pages10
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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    Research areas

  • Biological sciences, Ecology, Microbiology

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