E. coli, Nastier Than Ever–Cause for Comfort?

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Well, we’re down now to seven weeks till Microcosm hits the book stores. Here and elsewhere I’m going to discuss some of the fascinating things I discovered about E. coli–and life in general–while working on the book. For instance, I came to have a grudging respect for the vicious strain of E. coli known as O157:H7, which has caused outbreaks in recent years in contaminated foods. The weaponry it uses to attack and subvert our cells is quite impressive. But my respect went up a notch more when scientists recently reported how E. coli O157:H7 has been continuing to evolve into an even nastier bug. Over at Slate today, I explain why there’s a silver lining in this microbial cloud–it means we should be a bit skeptical that anyone is going to engineer a killer bug from scratch any time soon.