The ScienceBlogs Book Club

Carl Zimmer

It is a little weird to think of engineered bacteria living in your mouth or your gut, fighting cavities or Crohn’s disease. I’ll admit I feel a twinge just thinking about it. But is that because I have some intuition of the risks of ingesting such creatures? I doubt it. I think it’s just focusing…

Imagine that mad scientists defied nature and violated the barriers between species. They injected human DNA into non-human creatures, altering their genomes into chimeras–unnatural fusions of man and beast. The goal of the scientists was to enslave these creatures, to exploit their cellular machinery for human gain. The creatures began to produce human proteins, so…

Jessica asked if I think viruses are alive. John has given his opinion. I will waffle, but I hope in an interesting way. The hard thing about answering that question is that we’d have to agree on what it means to be alive. We all have a sense that we know what’s alive and what’s…

To kick off this book club discussion, I want to explain how I ended up the past couple years obsessing over E. coli. If you don’t know much about E. coli, it may sound like a strange thing to do. But the time I spent in this microbe’s intellectual company was deeply enlightening. I came…