Microcosm Infects The Journal Science

It's nice to get book reviews in both the popular press and academic journals. I hope everyone will read my books, but I also hope that scientists will consider them good science. And, speaking of Science, the journal of said name just published a lovely review of Microcosm by the evolutionary biologist Daniel Rankin:

A popular science book on E. coli may not sound like the most interesting read. However, Microcosm is just that. The next time you hear of an outbreak of nasty E. coli on the news, spare a thought for this minute creature, which has arguably helped advance humanity far further than any other organism. Not only has it inhabited human guts for as long as we have existed, it has benefited almost all areas of the biosciences, from genetic engineering to evolutionary theory. To really understand life, it seems we must pay close attention to this bug's life.

Source: "Learning Much from a Bug's Life."

More like this

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tags: Microcosm, microbiology, bacteria, E coli, evolution, Carl Zimmer, book review I lived through Seattle's outbreak of the "killer E. coli strain O157:H7" that charged into the world's consciousness after it mercilessly destroyed the kidneys and other vital organs of hundreds of children and…
For the past few years, Craig Venter, the human genome pioneer, has been trying to build an organism from scratch. While Venter is no shrinking wallflower (see, for example, a recent interview in Newsweek), he has been keeping his synthetic-life cards pretty close to his vest. I spoke to Venter in…
Hello, and welcome to the ScienceBlogs Book Club. This is a ScienceBlogs special feature: an online, round-table discussion of Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, by Carl Zimmer. Carl will be joined on the blog by three expert guests—Jessica Snyder Sachs, John Dennehy, and PZ Myers.…

From the review:

The late Joshua Lederberg and colleagues discovered bacterial conjugation, showing that E. coli could exchange genes through direct contact with other cells. Not only can E. coli have sex but, like higher organisms, it has a rather complex social life.

Pray tell, how does one measure organism height? Will a simple ruler suffice?