Fingerprints on Life

My latest Dissection column for Wired.com takes on the old tug-of-war between Nature and Artifice. As I write in my new book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, scientists began to manufacture strange versions of the microbe in the early 1970s. In 1974, for example, scientists engineered E. coli carrying DNA from a frog. The difference between such “unnatural” bacteria and “natural” ones may seem obvious, but today the dividing line is surprisingly tricky to draw, and will only get trickier. In my new column, I describe the first systematic attempt to do so. Check it out.

(Image from National Gallery of Art)

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet