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roundtable: the evolving enemy Watch Show 4:
"The Evolutionary Arms Race"
on PBS
Check local listings
bottle of prescription antibiotics
In the battle against infectious disease, humankind has inadvertently given rise to deadly enemies. Antibiotic resistance is a stunning example of evolution by natural selection. Bacteria with traits that allow them to survive the onslaught of drugs can thrive, re-ignite infections, and launch to new hosts on a cough. Evolution generates a medical arms race. The bad news is that bacteria -- with their fast doubling times and ability to swap genes like trading cards -- evolve quickly. The good news is that in the 150 years since Darwin, we have grown to understand the rules of the race. But can we win this war?
Tamar Barlam
  George Beran
  Stuar Levy
  Stephen Palumbi
  Question submittal is now closed. Please read the panelists' answers to user-submitted questions.
  Go to Discussion  
Bacillus bacteria under magnificationHow the Roundtable Works
Four expert panelists have written statements in response to the opening question above.

Click on each panelist's name to learn about them and to read their statement.

Additional questions, both pointed and practical, were submitted by e-mail from general Web visitors and physicians alike. Panelists' answers contained a remarkable mixture of practical advice and realizations of how evolutionary theory can contribute to the future of public health.
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Microbe Clock
Learn how deadly microbes outpace medical breakthroughs.
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  related topics  
  Why Evolution Matters  
  Evolution Since Darwin  
  Adaptation and Natural Selection  
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