I am grateful to a number of scientists who have opened their labs, picked up their phones, and replied to my e-mails, all in order to teach me about Escherichia coli. They include Mark Achtman, Adam Arkin, M. Madan Babu, Steven Benner, Howard Berg, Mary Berlyn, Ronald Breaker, Sam Brown, George Church, Carol Cleland, James Collins, John Dennehy, Michael Doebeli, John Doyle, Michael Ellison, Thierry Emonet, Drew Endy, Thomas Ferenci, Finbarr Hayes, Peter Karp, Jay Keasling, Frank Keil, Andrew Knoll, Michael Krawinkel, Jan-Ulrich Kreft, Richard Lenski, Hirotada Mori, Kaare Nielsen, Christos Ouzounis, Mark Pallen, Bernhard Palsson, Arthur Pardee, Robert Pennock, Mark Ptashne, Margaret Riley, John Roth, Dean Rowe-Magnus, Jack Szostak, Phillip Tarr, Fred Tenover, Paul Thomas, Jeffrey Townsend, Paul Turner, David Ussery, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Barry Wanner, Daniel Weinreich, and George Williams.
I would also like to thank scientists and writers who looked over the manuscript or portions of it, including Mark Achtman, Uri Alon, Michael Balter, M. Madan Babu, Les Dethlefsen, Michael Feldgarden, Kevin Foster, James Hu, John Ingraham, Richard Lenski, Nicholas Matzke, Frederick Neidhardt, Monica Riley, and Eric Stewart. Moselio Schaechter was particularly generous with his time. Any errors that survived their careful scrutiny are entirely mine.
I wish to thank Doron Weber at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which helped fund my research for this book. Thanks go also to my editors at the magazines and newspapers where I first wrote about some of the topics I revisit here: James Gorman and Erica Goode at The New York Times, Tim Appenzeller at National
Geographic, David Grogan, Susan Kruglinski, and Corey Powell at Discover, Laura Helmuth at Smithsonian, Bruce Fellman and Kathrin Lassila at Yale Alumni Magazine, Leslie Roberts at Science, and Ricki Rusting at Scientific American.
My agent, Eric Simonoff, has never lost his fine power of discriminating between good book ideas and bad ones. When I saw him raise his eyebrows at my brief description of how E. coli swims, I realized I might have a good one. My thanks also go to Martin Asher, my editor at Pantheon, and Tadeusz Majewski, my illustrator.
Finally, there is my family. I thank my daughters, Charlotte and Veronica, for their indulgence while their father spent so much time writing about "the good germ." And my wife, Grace, provided the perfect blend of moral support and editorial criticism. Without her there would be no book. There would be no point.
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