The ScienceBlogs Book Club

John Dennehy

Horizontal Gene Transfer

Back in the 1970s, a scientist named Ananda Chakrabarty received the first patent for a genetically modified lifeform, an oil eating “Superbug” from the bacterial strain Pseudomonas putida. The feat was doubly hailed as a major step in bioremediation and a travesty of nature. In the long run, Chakrabarty’s Superbug was a failure. It was…

What is Life?

It has been suggested that the first posts of this book club be devoted to the Universal Rules of Life. So… What is life? Jessica asks, Carl, twice in the book you refer to viruses as “creatures.” Perhaps you used the word metaphorically. In any case I’d love to know whether you think viruses qualify…

Escherichia coli is a superstar of the microbe world. Like Zelig, E. coli has been on the scene of some of the most important discoveries of biology. For example, Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod deciphered gene regulation using E. coli’s Lac Operon. Roger Kornberg discovered DNA polymerase using E. coli. Even E. coli’s parasites (phages)…