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Antibiotic Resistance: Understanding and Responding to an Emerging Crisis by David S. Perlin, Karl Drlica

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Appendix A. Molecules of Life

To make Antibiotic Resistance accessible to a larger audience, we provide two appendixes that describe basic features of microbiology. In these appendixes, we assume that the reader has no background in biology; thus, we begin at a more basic level than is commonly seen in the popular press.

The Action of Molecules Defines Life

Many of the details of life can be understood by considering the behavior of molecules. For example, antibiotics are molecules, and their targets are molecules; antibiotic resistance arises through changes in molecules. Because atoms are the building blocks of molecules, our discussion of molecules must begin with atoms.

Atoms are tiny particles that exist in about 100 different types called ...

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