IMAGINE your excitement as a budding young researcher taking on your first piece of research as part of an undergraduate summer studentship; you’re working on a gene that makes a type of medically important bacteria resistant to a key group of antibiotics, the tetracyclines. The gene in question is described in a peer-reviewed specialist journal, but no-one is quite sure how the gene works. If we’re to understand and address the problem of antibiotic resistance, one of the many things we need to do is understand their mechanisms of resistance. This gene appears very different from any other gene that performs a similar function, so it has been classed into its own ‘family’ of resistance determinant, which appears in reviews and textbooks. It has also been screened for – and found – when looking under the genetic skirt of a notable ‘superbug’, VRSA (the vancomycin resistant big brother of MRSA).