BOOK REVIEW | Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life

Review by Elizabeth Quill

By Elizabeth Quill, 19:33 PM May 12, 2008

When science writer Carl Zimmer looks into a petri dish teeming with E. coli, he sees himself, humanity and all life. In Microcosm, Zimmer traces the lessons biologists have learned from the microbe, which calls our guts its home. He also uses it to discuss some of the most fundamental questions in biology: What is life? How does it persist? Why must it end?

“I look at life through a lens made of E. coli,” Zimmer writes, and many biologists are doing the same. E. coli was the spec...

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