We extracted DNA from the samples you submitted. We then used PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to detect a piece of bacterial DNA known as the Class 1 Integron. These integrons arose some time in the early 20th Century, when they began spreading antibiotic resistance genes to many species of bacteria, including those that cause human and animal diseases. In our laboratories, we use integrons as a marker for antibiotic resistance.
Go to our references page for more information of class 1 integrons in Australian wildlife and the methods we use in the laboratory.
If your possum sample is red on the Scatlas (or Positive), this means we have detected the Class 1 Integron. The possum you sampled has picked up a Class 1 Integron or a bacterium with a Class 1 Integron , probably through exposure to integrons shed into the environment. The most likely sources of for these integrons are humans and domestic animals. We expect that urban possums are more likely to carry the integron compared to their rural or wild cousins.
In the near future, we will be doing further tests to identify the particular resistance genes in each possum, and what particular types of antibiotics they confer resistance to. Any patterns in the numbers and kinds of resistance genes will help us understand the transmission of resistance between humans, domestic animals and wildlife. This information will be valuable for preventing transmission in the future and preserve our dwindling supply of effective antibiotics.
If your sample is blue on the app Scatlas and listed as "Failed QC" below, then the sample failed our quality control. This could be because it was not a possum poop sample, or perhaps because it was too dry or hardened for the DNA extraction process.