« The Teachers’ Corner | Main | Fine Reading: The Origins of Multicellularity »


Mark O. Martin

It's like a Chinese Box: layers upon layers upon layers. And at the base? Microbial supremacy! And our microbial friends have much to teach us.

Not to wax Biblical, let alone Talmudic (too many years in Sunday School as a child, perhaps), but this comes to mind, from Job 12: 7-8:

"But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee."

How much more eloquent are the myriad and ancient microbes all around (and upon and within) us! Evolution has tuned them to such intricate and interrelated perfection! Symbiotic associations like you describe may provide us with new medicines and approaches to therapies---as well as their intrinsically interesting and informative natures.

Wonderful post, Elio. I hope to teach a seminar course in microbial symbioses next year; we'll see if it is approved. Yet more grist for the mill.

I was fortunate enough to visit Professor Currie at Madison a few years ago. I will not soon forget his showing me a room filled with plastic tanks with various species of ants scurrying around leaf litter. The very soft spoken and quite nice Professor Currie reached into one tank, and pulled out a huge queen to show me...while defending ants swarmed up his arm, visibly biting him. Without reacting, he continuing telling me with great enthusiasm about the queen in his one hand, while gently pulling off the defenders and tossing them back into the tank with his other hand.

I paid very, very close attention to where those ants went, and to Professor Currie's animated description of his research!

Again, what a lovely post to see after lecture today!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)