Scientists sequence the 92-year-old mold that produced the first antibiotic, penicillin

This mold was regrown from Alexander Fleming's frozen sample that produced the first antibiotic, penicillin.

(CNN)The accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, when mold contaminated one of his petri dishes, changed the course of modern medicine, with antibiotics key to the decline of many diseases over the course of the 20th century.

Now, scientists have woken up Fleming's original Penicillium mold and sequenced its genome for the first time. They say the information they have gleaned could help in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
"Remarkably after all this time spent in the freezer, it grows back fairly readily. It is fairly easy, you just break it out of that tube and put it on a petri dish plate and away it goes," said Tim Barraclough, a professor at the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London and the Department of Zoology at Oxford University.
    "We realized, to our surprise, that no one had sequenced the genome of this original Penicillium, despite its historical significance to the field."
    Fleming's original sample is kept in a wooden box.
    Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 while working at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, which is now part of Imperial College London.