Survival of the Sickest: Part 3

What did you think about the reading?

I found this part of the reading more interesting than the previous parts. I found it more interesting because most of the things Dr. Moalem discussed I already had a basic knowledge on so when she started to make connections between different bacteria and parasites, I was able to understand what she was writing on a deeper level. I actually found this part more technical and interesting than the other parts. She still added her sarcasm and humor every now an then so it gave the book a more interesting vibe. I think the way the book allows the reader to think on there own and come up with conclusions opens up that part of our minds that generates new ways of thinking and coming up with new ideas that can further our way of in life.

What did you learn?

This chapter, chapter 5, was by far my favorite of the entire book. I like how Dr. Moalem starts out by telling us that not all bacteria are harmful, because it is true. In this chapter she explains how most organisms, in some way or the other, benefit each other. She discuses how the bacteria in our body are in constant battle against us to survive. I learned something that I kind of already knew but was confirmed by what she wrote in her book. It is true that everything on our planet is trying to survive and reproduce. Because everything wants to survive to reproduce, we are constantly adapting and changing so we can get an edge in life. What was also interesting was how most bacteria and parasites change and adapt as we have created antibiotics for them. What I found interesting was how host manipulation didn’t just take over another organisms body, it changed the organisms natural habits to benefit its own survival rather than the organism that is hosting it.

In chapter 6 what I learned that stood out the most was about the jumping genes and how McClintock was ridiculed. Because of her discovery of jumping genes people started to believe that mutations were much more than random mistakes that rarely occurred. I also learned something new, the Weismann barrier was something I had never herd of before. This barrier is the barrier between somatic cells and germ cells. If there is a change in the parents somatic cells, it will not cross over or change anything in the germ cells. This is what science originally thought, until they discovered that certain viruses and retroviruses could potentially break through this barrier.

What questions do you still have?

My questions would be, if there is a less harmful version virus that can be given in the form of a vaccine to create antibodies that are able to fight the real thing, why do some people choose not to take it? Because humans have figured out a way to decrease the spread of Guinea worms, are they going to start adapting and changing the way they “manipulate” us so they can still survive? Are there other examples of organisms that can hijack or be hijacked by other organisms?

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One thought on “Survival of the Sickest: Part 3

  1. You have brought up some good questions that I too wish that Dr. Moalem answered in the novel. To answer your first question about why some people choose to not take vaccines, I think that would be because they do not trust them. Also, I feel as though the guinea worm, because humans are no longer a viable form of transportation, have probably started adapting to use different animals.Lastly, I bet there are tons of other hijacking organisms besides the ones mentioned in the novel.

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