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The recent rise in multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria, in part due in part to the overuse of antibiotics, is problematic, both in aquaculture and in the clinical setting. Some of the largest causes of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains are resistance plasmids, extrachromosomal genetic elements. Bacteria can transfer MDR plasmids through conjugation, a mechanism of horizontal gene transfer that allows for plasmid transfer through direct cell-cell contact. IncA/C plasmids are a type of MDR plasmid, found in many divergent pathogens, including the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida, and Vibrio cholerae, the cause of epidemic cholera in humans. Currently, very little is known with regards to IncA/C plasmids and their role in the emergence of MDR V. cholerae. However, the ever-increasing number of IncA/C plasmids identified in MDR V. cholerae clinical isolates makes it necessary to investigate this area, because of the dual nature of V. cholerae and its ability to transfer MDR IncA/C plasmids from the aquatic environment to other human pathogens. In this study, I sought to determine the genetic transfer frequency via conjugation of an IncA/C MDR plasmid to various Vibrio strains in various microcosms. I observed that an IncA/C plasmid of A. salmonicida ssp. salmonicida AS03 was capable of being transferred to E. coli DH5α during growth in liquid, and to all Vibrio strains in liquid and on solid surfaces. From this, the two Vibrio species may be important participants in MDR plasmid transfer from aquatic to terrestrial environments, due to the dual nature of V. cholerae and V. parahaemolyticus.
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Taylor-Salmon, Emma, "Examination of transfer frequency of a multi-drug resistant plasmid to Vibrio cholerae via conjugation" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 206.