STEWART BRAND, Founder, Whole Earth Catalog, cofounder; The Well; cofounder, Global Business Network; Author, Whole Earth Discipline
Microbes Run the World
That opening sentence of The New Science of Metagenomics sounds reveille for a new way of understanding biology, and maybe of understanding society as well.
The breakthrough was shotgun sequencing of DNA, the same technology that gave us the human genome years ahead of schedule. Starting in 2003, Craig Venter and others began sequencing large populations of bacteria. The thousands of new genes they found (double the total previously discovered) showed what proteins the genes would generate and therefore what function they had, and that began to reveal what the teeming bacteria were really up to. This “meta”-genomics revolutionized microbiology, and that revolution will reverberate through the rest of biology for decades. Continue reading