Instead of drifting with humans and animals, Bacteria may travel through the air covering an extensive distance worldwide. The hypothesis “air bridge” by Rutgers and several other scientists could elucidate how antibiotic resistance genes are shared by the detrimental bacteria’s.
The senior author Konstantin Severinov said “Our research suggests that there must be a planet-wide mechanism that ensures the exchange of bacteria between faraway places.
Because the bacteria we study live in very hot water – about 160 degrees Fahrenheit – in remote places, it is not feasible to imagine that animals, birds or humans transport them.”
He also added: “They must be transported by air and this movement must be very extensive so bacteria in isolated places share common characteristics.”
On this planet, Bacteriophages are found to be the most plentiful and existing forms of life. Also, on microbial populations and the structure of the community, viruses have a significant influence.
The order of molecular memories, stored in special parts of DNA of bacteria, allows scientists to pursue after the history of the interaction of bacteria with viruses over the passage of time.
Earlier, it was thought by the scientists that bacteria of similar species residing in hot springs with longer distances in between would be having contrasting memories of their experience of encountering the virus. This happens because all bacteria should be having separate histories of viral infections. The scientists further thought that the rapid evolution of bacteria must take place in order for them to become very different.
Severinov said, “What we found, however, is that there were plenty of shared memories – identical pieces of viral DNA stored in the same order in the DNA of bacteria from distant hot springs.” He further added that “Our analysis may inform ecological and epidemiological studies of harmful bacteria that globally share antibiotic resistance genes and may also get dispersed by air instead of human travelers.”
There’s a need for taking samples of air at multiple altitudes in order to test the “air bridge” hypothesis. Severinov said that they need to gain access to technology like research balloons, drones, and planes.