TROMSO, Norway, Jan. 13 (UPI) — A study of polar bear droppings suggests antibiotic-resistant genes seen in other animals may be the result of human influence, scientists in Norway said.
Researchers from the University of Tromso examined droppings from five Arctic polar bears and rectal swabs taken from another five Arctic polar bears between 2004 and 2006.
The polar bears showed little sign of antibiotic-resistant bacteria seen in the feces of animals living near humans, university researcher Trine Glad wrote in the journal BMC Microbiology.
“The Barents Sea population of polar bears is located in an area that is sparsely populated by humans,” Glad said. “This enables us to study an ecosystem with little human impact and should allow us to determine whether these genes are naturally occurring or are caused by exposure to human antibiotics.”
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