microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life Amazon Barnes & Noble In this startlingly original biography of a germ, Carl Zimmer traces E. coli’s pivotal role. Microcosm has ratings and 89 reviews. Michael said: DiscoveryEscherichia coli bacteria was discovered by the German-Austrian pediatrician Theodor. Carl Zimmer effectively applies this principle in his engrossing new book, “ Microcosm,” relating the study of these microbes to larger.

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Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life

Coli, as an experimentally friendly substrate for understanding a wide array of biological phenomena, has lead it to it being adapted as the most common substrate for genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Before the double helix was discovered, it was E coli that told us that genes were made of DNA, and afterwards it was E czrl that showed how the two strands unwound and made copies of themselves. It is almost a primer on cellular and molecular biology; and if you wade through all the details you will come away with a lot of knowledge on the subject.

That’s a shame, because his work deserves much more recognition than it gets. Find your local bookstore at booksellers. I found it at times fascinating and at other times just too bogged down.

Review: Microcosm by Carl Zimmer | Books | The Guardian

While it’s readily understandable for a reader with some science background, it might be a bit of a rough read for others. The double helix tends to steal the limelight, but its structure is one of the few things about DNA we did not learn from E coli.


Jan 03, Philip rated it really liked it. In this new conformation, the mRNA will no longer bind to the ribosome and so will not be translated into a biosynthesis or transport protein for vitamin B I haven’t seen book stores carring his books, or his name mentioned in lists, among the likes of Simon Singh. If nothing else, this book will completely redefine your ideas of how distinct different creatures are from each other, and how much of our own genetic material is made up of DNA we have borrowed or expropriated from other organisms.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. These little bacteria, with only the most rudimentary of sensory organs, manage to locate food sources and move toward them, which is pretty amazing.

Code breaker

A look at life, evolution and death from the point of view of the common gut bateria, e. Zimmer devotes considerable attention to genome plasticity and natural selection in E.

I’m a microbiologist-in-training, and to start out with, it’s rare t It is easy, when reading a book that’s about your particular field of intense interest, to close the last page with mixed feelings. And microcoem describes how E. E coli cracked the genetic code, opening the way to the astonishing microcosj that every living thing, “from E coli to the elephant”, writes its genetic instructions in exactly the same code.

In an era when the theory of natural selection is under siege politically, exploration of its nuances is welcome. Also by Carl Zimmer. It can be passed down to the descendants of the bacterium, and sometimes can cause a viral infection in the descendent bacteria.

It was one of E coli’s enzymes which provided the molecular scissors that made possible the biotechnology revolution: The interrelatedness of all life on earth, being the main point here. Jan 14, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: Prophage A virus that attacks eats bacteria is called a bacteriophage or just phage, for short. All along the way you get to feel like you know E. A virus that attacks eats bacteria is called a bacteriophage or just phage, for short.


The main plank in the defence was that there were examples in nature of “irreducible complexity” – structures or cafl made of many components that could not work if one component were removed – and that these could not have arisen through chance mutations.

This is a good exploration of E.

Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life – Wikipedia

We are experiencing technical difficulties. Occasionally, I didn’t feel like I knew where something was coming from, and the ordering of some of the material was a little arbitrary. Flagella evolved from the more primitive structure cael above, the Type III secretion system. Carl Zimmer acknowledges that “E coli may seem like an odd choice as a guide to life if the only place you’ve heard about it is in news reports of food poisoning”.

I came to know about some new things and new subjects microvosm biology which was quite fantastic. His work is giving the creationists fits because it’s living proof of the mechanism of evolution and natural selection. If not the absolute best, bar none.