Tag Archives: antibiotic resistance

Are super bugs evidence of evolution?

Some have said that “super-bugs,” that is, antibiotic resistant bacteria, are perfect examples of evolution.  Typically, antibiotic medications are used to eradicate a bacterial (not viral) infections, but “super-bugs” are immune to these antibiotics.  Is this really evolution in the sense that the bacteria are better or evolved? 

Let’s look at an example using the H. Pylori bacteria. When an antibiotic is introduced to these bacteria, H. Pylori produces an enzyme that converts the antibiotic into a poison, thus killing the bacteria. However, there is a mutation of these bacteria that has lost the capability of producing the enzyme.  Therefore, when the antibiotic is introduced, it is ineffective to the mutation (the poison is not produced) and the mutated bacteria continue to thrive.  Although the mutant H. Pylori has survived, it has actually lost important enzyme-producing information. 

The Theory of Evolution states that living things gain more information in their DNA resulting in an evolution of more complex organisms.  If life came from a single celled organism millions of years ago, and today we have intricate organs, cells, brains, nervous systems, etc., then clearly we humans have more information in our DNA than our distant, single-celled ancestor.  However, there is no mechanism via natural selection or mutations to ever add this beneficial information.  Instead, information is lost or damaged and no new information is added.

To conclude, super-bugs would be more aptly called “weaker-bugs” because they have lost an important function.  If the mutants are paired with the “normal” bacteria, the normal ones would thrive and consume the resources while the mutants would die out.

 

H.Pylori bacteria and the antibiotic (Source: Answers in Genesis)
Mutated (resistant) H. Pylori bacteria (Source: Answers in Genesis)

 

For a related article written by a Ph.D. in microbiology, please see: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n3/antibiotic-resistance-of-bacteria