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Antibiotic resistance has become a formidable threat to public health in recent years, particularly due to the excessive use of antibiotics. Modes of resistance have rendered some cures for bacterial infections useless. While antibiotic resistance is a normal component of the environment, anthropogenic pollution has catalyzed a greater presence of resistance in nature. A considerable portion of antibiotics consumed by humans and other animals remains the same upon excretion. Moreover, wastewater treatment plants are ineffective in properly depleting the amount of antibiotics in the resulting sewage. One gene mechanism that plays a role in antibiotic resistance is the class 1 integron, a structure that can contain genes responsible for resistance. In this study, we have examined the relationship between class 1 integrons and pollutants in the Saw Kill, a tributary of the Hudson River. In the summer and fall of 2015, a research group collected samples from the Saw Kill both above and below a sewage discharge pipe, measuring the presence of class 1 integrons, pollutants such as E. Coli, and other environmental factors. They also collected data employing metagenomics protocols to gain an understanding of microbial diversity in relation to integron 1 abundance. After analyzing the data from this study, we found that class 1 integrons could serve as a proxy for pollution, particularly for water pollution. Moreover, we found that sediments below the outflow displayed higher levels of integron 1 abundance than sediments above, indicating that the sewage discharge does have an effect on the Saw Kill.
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Reid, Mary Rebecca, "Class 1 Integron Abundance as a Measurement of Pollution in Hudson River Tributaries" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 16.
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