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Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Lifeby Carl Zimmer
Synopses & Reviews
•Within days of being born, we are infected with billions of E. coli. They will inhabit each and every one of us until we die. E. coli is notorious for making people gravely ill, but engineered strains of the bacteria save millions of lives each year.
•Despite its microscopic size, E.coli contains more than four thousand genes that operate a staggeringly sophisticated network of millions of molecules.
•Scientists are rebuilding E. coli from the ground up, redefining our understanding of life on Earth.
In the tradition of classics like Lewis Thomas's Lives of a Cell, Carl Zimmer has written a fascinating and utterly accessible investigation of what it means to be alive. Zimmer traces E. coli's remarkable history, showing how scientists used it to discover how genes work and then to launch the entire biotechnology industry. While some strains of E. coli grab headlines by causing deadly diseases, scientists are retooling the bacteria to produce everything from human insulin to jet fuel.
Microcosm is the story of the one species on Earth that science knows best of all. It's also a story of life itself--of its rules, its mysteries, and its future.
A Best Book of the YearSeed Magazine - Granta Magazine - The Plain-DealerIn this fascinating and utterly engagingbook, Carl Zimmer traces E. coli's pivotal role in the history of biology, from the discovery of DNA to the latest advances in biotechnology. He reveals the many surprising and alarming parallels betweenE. coli's life and our own. And he describes how E. coli changes in real time, revealing billions of years of history encoded within its genome. E. coli is also themost engineered species on Earth, and as scientists retool this microbe to produce life-saving drugs and clean fuel, they are discovering just how far the definition of life can bestretched.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The author of Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea addresses the fundamental question of what it means to be alive from the perspective of a microbe, E. coli, that exists within all human beings, examining the germ's important role in the history of biology, from the discovery of DNA to the latest advances in biotechnology, as well as its evolution. 25,000 first printing.
About the Author
Carl Zimmer writes about science for The New York Times, and his work also appears in National Geographic, Scientific American, and Discover, where he is a contributing editor. He won the 2007 National Academies Communication Award, the highest honor for science writing. He is the author of six books, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea and Parasite Rex, for which he has earned fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Zimmer also writes an award-winning blog, The Loom. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.
Table of Contents
Signature — E. coli and the elephant — The system — The E. coli watcher's field guide — Everflux — Death and kindness — Darwin at the drugstore — Open source — Palimpsest — Playing nature — N equals one.
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