We continue to be warned about the risk of antibiotic resistance. This campaign has targeted medicine and agriculture, asking these industries to pay attention to the risks of widespread resistance and to cut the use of antibiotics wherever possible. However, there has been little to no mention of the widespread use of antibiotics in the scientific research community. As scientists we use antibiotics and antibiotic resistance as fundamental tools for our research; almost all conventional plasmids use an antibiotic resistance gene as a selectable marker, offering us an easy method of screening. With molecular biology and genetics at the heart of many research disciplines, these tools are ubiquitous. Scientists have a responsibility to monitor and reduce our use of antibiotics. With the growth and fast advancement of synthetic biology, it is timely for us to consider other options and to teach the next generation of researchers by example how to truly value antibiotics by using them more responsibly.
- antibiotic resistance
- biological tools