Almost as soon as antibiotics were discovered to be valuable in medicine, resistance emerged among bacteria. Whenever mutating or recombining organisms are faced with extirpation, those individuals with variations that avert death will survive and reproduce to take over the population. This can happen rapidly among organisms that reproduce fast and outpace our efforts to combat them. Thus, our use of chemical entities to rid ourselves of clinical, domestic, and agricultural pathogens and pests has selected for resistance.
Today, we find ourselves at the nexus of an alarming acceleration of resistance to antibiotics, insecticides, and herbicides. Through chemical misuse, resistance also brings widespread collateral damage to natural, social, and economic systems. Resistance to antifungal agents poses a particular challenge because a limited suite of chemicals is used in both agricultural and clinical settings.
INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL ISSUE
Science 18 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6390, pp. 726-727