We know that mutations happen regularly in bacteria and also that one bacteria might get the mutation and become stronger than the others and thus survive, causing antibiotic resistance as well. Can we deliberately make mutations in bacteria that would harm other bacteria but not humans. This would not only make them stronger and thus let them survive but would reduce the very need of antibiotics as they would be less virulent to humans?

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    $\begingroup$ (1) Not all bacteria are harmful (2) Even if you are able to make such strain, in future, that will also exposed to mutations and you will see new strains coming up with new mechanisms. You must read Red Queen Hypothesis ! $\endgroup$ – Dexter Nov 14 '15 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ We would do that only with the bacteria that harm humans in some or the other way. Yes, even those would go under mutation. So I am concluding that this is not a cure but a short sighted experimental idea? $\endgroup$ – MPG Nov 14 '15 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe. It will depend on your aim/objective of experiment/project. $\endgroup$ – Dexter Nov 14 '15 at 6:02

Mutating Bacteria is a very plausible idea. If you mutate a particular strain of 'helpful' bacteria to become extremely positively selected for in the current environment then it is possible that the rest of the bacteria interacting with your new mutated will face heavy competition and eventually die out.

The major hole in the idea however, is that bacteria regularly undergo horizontal gene transfer which makes this idea extremely, extremely dangerous for humans. (If your mutated bacteria accidentally passes on the mutated gene to, say, a bacteria that causes Tuberculosis, it would initiate a pandemic. It is also equally possible that a dangerous bacteria might transfer its genes to your mutated bacteria.) It is generally accepted that mutating bacteria or other pathogens(most of which mutate at high rates) is generally a bad idea, because once released into the environment, the possibilities of the mutation going haywire are high(other mutations might make them dangerous).

Horizontal Gene Transfer: Transfer of genes due to recombination processes like Transduction, Transformation and Conjugation which can occur between bacteria of same or different strains, species, domains. etc

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a logical thinking. Thank you. I get a clearer picture now. $\endgroup$ – MPG Nov 17 '15 at 15:06

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