Saturday 24 October 2020

Plasmid research


Plasmids—extrachromosomal genetic elements—play an important role for bacteria. And with the importance of plasmids for antibiotic resistance, understanding them, their persistence and their interaction of chromosomes will be crucial in the next few decades.


The recent bioRxiv preprint "Evolutionary Mechanisms That Determine Which Bacterial Genes Are Carried on Plasmids" by Sonja Lehtinen, Jana S. Huisman and Sebastian Bonhoeffer builds a model where a bacterium "best" keeps its DNA, in the chromosome or in plasmids.

The model is realized as a set of time-dependent coupled differential equations. The stability of the equilibrium points of this system was analyzed using Mathematica. With its state-of-the-art symbolic and numeric linear algebra framework and its convenient-to-use data visualization functions, Mathematica is a well-suited tool for such computations.

In a related paper "Factors Favouring the Evolution of Multidrug Resistance in Bacteria" by Eliott Jacopin, Sonja Lehtinen, Florence Débarre and François Blanquart. Their paper deals with describing the equilibrium bacteria strain compositions. Similar to the previous paper, they used a coupled system of differential equations, and they also carried out all computations in Mathematica.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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