Experiments of Pränting and Andersson demonstrate how bacteria adapt to the growth limitation caused by antibiotic resistance mutations. The process of adaptation relies on gene copy number changes that arise at high rates, including duplications (10(-4) per cell per generation), amplifications (10(-2) per cell per generation) and mutant copy loss (10(-2) per cell per division). Reversible increases in copy number improve growth by small steps and provide more targets for rare sequence alterations (10(-9) per cell per division) that can stably improve growth. After sequence alteration, selection favours loss of the still mutant gene copies that accelerated adaptation. The results strongly support the amplification-reversion model for fast adaptation and argue against the alternative idea of 'stress-induced mutagenesis'.