Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Marine Environment.
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Antibiotic resistance in bacteria often arises through human use/misuse of antibiotics. Because so much human waste is dumped into the ocean daily, the marine environment becomes a potential biological reservoir of antibiotic resistance. Our study examined the possibility of conjugal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between E. coli and various common marine bacteria. Conjugation was initiated under a variety of simulated marine conditions: on sand, in the water column and in seawater containing copepods. Gene transfer between the E. coli strain and each marine strain was observed under each experimental condition. However, no significant difference was observed between treatments.