I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Ed Yong. Ecco, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-236859-1
British science journalist Yong succeeds in encouraging readers to recognize the critical importance of biological microorganisms. He argues that humans must move past the belief that bacteria are bad and need to be eradicated, and adopt a deeper understanding of the positive role they play in the lives of most organisms. Yong makes a superb case for his position by interviewing numerous scientists and presenting their fascinating work in an accessible and persuasive fashion. Throughout, he takes a holistic ecological perspective, contending that it makes no sense to examine bacteria in isolation. As in all ecological systems, context is everything, and the complex community structure of the microbiome does much to determine the effects of various bacteria. Yong demonstrates that this more inclusive view has led to a reconceptualization of how the immune system might work, how microorganisms can shape the development of organ systems, how bacteria might play a role in autism, and how the microbiome may influence an organism’s propensity for obesity. He also shows that scientists have moved beyond the theoretical by successfully performing “ecosystem transplants” of human gut microorganisms, and he envisions a future that includes “artisanal bacteria” designed to perform specific tasks. Yong reveals “how ubiquitous and vital microbes are” on scales large and small. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016
Release date: 08/09/2016
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-247259-5
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-236862-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-3449-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3448-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-3447-9
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