Phys.org: Antibiotics have saved countless lives over the decades. Yet to the pathogens they kill, antibiotics are an ancient foe, one they are already adept at fighting.
 It turns out the spread of antibiotic resistance might not be as constrained as we assumed, giving more species far easier access to antibiotic resistance than previous models would have us believe.
 The findings come from a study carried out by bioinformatics researcher Jan Zrimec from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, which looked for signs of mobility among elements of DNA called plasmids. If a genome was a cookbook, plasmids could be imagined as loose scraps of paper featuring prized recipes stolen from friends and relatives. Many contain instructions for making materials that can help bacteria survive under stressful conditions.
 And for bacteria, a dose of antibiotics is about as stressful as it gets.While we’ve been using them as a form of medicine for the better part of a hundred years, the truth is we’ve simply taken inspiration from a microbial arms race that could be nearly as old as life itself.
As different species of microbe concocted new ways to stymie the growth of their bacterial competitors through the ages, bacteria have come up with new ways to overcome them.
These defence measures are often preserved in the coding of a plasmid, allowing bacterial cells to easily share resistance through a process called conjugation. If that word evokes thoughts of encounters during prison visits, you need to stretch your imagination just a little further to picture it… between single-celled organisms.