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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So Zimmer has been able to use E. While Zimmer covers some of the controversy, I would have enjoyed more discussion on this, and perhaps a little less of the basic genetics that I already knew.

Microcosm by Carl Zimmer | : Books

As a student of the biological sciences, at times he glossed over experimental details that I had to know of due to curiosity, but that is due to my background and is not a fault of the author. I came to know about some new things and new subjects of biology which was quite fantastic.

Jun 12, Mazola1 rated it really liked it. Carl Zimmer is one of my favorite science writers, precisely because I know how difficult it zzimmer to walk the fine line between explaining the intricacies of science and not overwhelming readers with abstruse detail.

Particularly the discussion on Richard Lenski’s publishing of his research whereby he observed E. So, I don’t know what could have satisfied. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. There are discussions that are similar to those that came up while I was studying for my general examination.

The author is an advocate of genetic engineering, which started with E. So much of what we do in the lab today depends on these little bacteria that looking at biology through the lens of E. Sometimes the books are carp in depth that you feel sorry for any poor soul who happened to meander into them. May 20, Todd Martin rated it liked it Shelves: Aug 08, Prithvi Shams rated it really liked it.


I found it at time This book can be read on two levels. From the Trade Paperback edition. In fact, I believe I’ve learned more biology by watching Once upon a time: Only recently was it discovered that the shigella microcosk is actually a group of strains of E.

The amazing inner-working of cells pop out cqrl the pages and makes you want to grab zimmwr microscope. Microcosm is a history of E. They basically have a driveshaft and a motor. And he describes how E. Our failure properly to grasp how a fast-breeding bacterium can rapidly evolve defences in response to a new environmental threat has led to the worldwide izmmer of antibiotic resistance.

It’s not that it’s too conceptually difficult, I think, at least at the level it’s being presented here; it just doesn’t seem to stick in my head.

However, in general, the writing was quite captivating and for the most part one microcowm enjoyed the ride. This book works like a biography. A look at life, evolution and death from the point of view of the common gut bateria, e. May 17, John rated it really liked it.

I just got this book for Christmas and polished it off in a couple of days. There is also a feedback loop where excessive amounts of heat-shock protein will shut down their production. May 31, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: Another flagellar delight is the way in which Zimmer shows that, far from being a structure that could not evolve stepwise, as proponents of intelligent design would have you believe, this complex corkscrew actually reveals its evolved status clearly down at the molecular and genetic level.

Zimmer admits that E. Sign up to our newsletter using your email.

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There are a few times, particularly early on in the book, when Zimmer seems to stumble a bit, leaving gaps or dead-ends in his explanations. It also includes a few philosophical musings and, at the other end of the spectrum, some practical insight into the job of a microbiologist. I also thought it was brilliant and unusual to include some details of the lab work which involves E. Many prophages develop mutations that prevent them from ever escaping the host chromosome back into a virus capsid.


Before the double helix was discovered, it was E coli that told us that genes were made of DNA, and afterwards it was E coli that showed how the two strands unwound and made copies of themselves.

These talents are amply exhibited in Microcosm. What were new, and what really kept me enthralled, were the experiments that established those facts, the fundamentals of not only microbiology, but genetics, and evolution. He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times and the author of 13 books about science. At the age of seven, he had declared that he hoped to become ‘like Einstein’ and to ‘discover a few things in science.

The Shiga toxin attacks the RNA part of the bacterial ribosomes, halting protein synthesis. My review for the Sunday Times is now up on their site. Along the way, Zimmer treats the reader to lessons on how living things adapt to survive and compete with each other, how much all forms of life have in common, the fuzzy line between living and non-living, and some truly difficult bio-ethical issues raised by modern techniques of genetic engineering.

Coli playing out socially: 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. I’m a fan of popular science, and I’m surprised how unfamiliar Zimmer seems to be in the field. In some ways, the book was both too focused and too broad.

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