Title text: Biologists play reverse Pokémon, trying to avoid putting any one team member on the front lines long enough for the experience to cause evolution.
In Pokemon, a highly popular game series, the protagonist goes out in search for the eponymous creatures. Many of Pokemon can be found directly in the wild, but there are also a lot of Pokemon that require training and growth, to cause them to "evolve" into new Pokemon. "Evolve" (the game's term) is a misnomer (which had earned itself quite some controversy in the past). In reality, when applied to Pokemon, "evolution" is more akin to puberty or metamorphosis, since, instead of the entire species of Pokemon acquiring changes throughout an extended period of time, one specific member of the species grows instantly to the "higher stage." (To be more specific, the Pokemon glows before transforming into the new form, then stops glowing.) The changes can be quite dramatic...or not.
This comic depicts the "evolution" of a bacteria as observed by a Biologist in the same format as the game Pokemon. Here we have Staphylococcus Aureus, which is not a desirable bacterium (it causes Staph infections) which evolves into "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus". Methicillin is an anti-biotic. If the bacteria becomes resistant, it means the anti-biotic will not kill the bacteria, and infections become harder to treat. Thus, the observer is not pleased with such an evolution.
The title text references this by suggesting that biologists do NOT want bacteria to evolve in this way, as opposed to Pokemon where you put a Pokemon on the "front lines" as much as possible to gain it experience and hope it evolves.
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- [bacterial cell culture]
- Staphylococcus Aureus is evolving!
- Off-screen: Aww, crap.
- Staphylococcus Aureus evolved into Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus!