Predictable and unpredictable evolution of antibiotic resistance


Patrice Courvalin, Unité des Agents Antibactériens, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.
(fax: +33 1 45 68 83 19; e-mail:


Evolution of bacteria towards antibiotic resistance is unavoidable as it represents a particular aspect of the general evolution of bacteria. Thus, at the very best, the only hope we can have in the field of resistance is to delay dissemination of resistant bacteria or resistance genes. Resistance to antibiotics in bacteria can result from mutations in resident structural or regulatory genes or from horizontal acquisition of foreign genetic information. In this review, we will consider the predictable future of the relationship between bacteria and antibiotics.