Microscopic menagerie

New view of microbes forces rethinking of what it means to be an organism

By Susan Milius, 14:47 PM December 23, 2013

What is a wasp?” might seem like an overly simple question for a Ph.D. biologist to be asking. “What is a human?” Even more so.

But these are strange times in the life sciences. Seth Bordenstein of Vanderbilt University in Nashville now embraces the notion that each wasp he studies, each squirrel darting around campus — not to mention himself, every reader of science magazines and every other representative of see-it-without-a-microscope life on Earth — is really a blend of one big organism an...

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