Mealybugs and the Essence of Life

As I continue to catch up from a week’s vacation, I realize that I neglected to point Loom readers to last week’s “Matter” column in the New York Timeslast week’s “Matter” column in the New York Times. It’s a fun one: a look at the species with the fewest known genes in its genome–just 120. Which raises the questions, just how low can you go? Is there some minimal essence of life? The answer is not what you might think. And it involves living inside a mealybug.

Andrew Howley over at National Geographic News Watch shares my fascination with such “Whoa…” questions, and so we exchanged some further thoughts about what it means to be alive. You can read his conversation with me here.