Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Mysterious Phage

I'm not a biologist, but I found this book to be strangely intriguing nevertheless. It delves into life at the micro level more interesting to me than most works of science fiction. The phage, it seems, is a remarkable bit of life that may or may not actually be alive, depending on how one defines the concept of life. The aspect of the book that was most engrossing was the way in which these creatures invade larger host organisms, and then, like the key to some cosmic lock, turn the host's DNA towards their own purposes. The first of these purposes is, of course, self-replication, but that's just the start of the strange odyssey of the phage.

If the invasion of a living host organism seems macabre, it must be said that these entities are also responsible for much of the genetic innovation underpinning the evolving process of life. So these infinitely small, and incomprehensibly multitudinous creatures, both destroy life and bring forth new life in the process. So if I understand the thrust of this book correctly, admittedly a stretch for a layman such as myself, it seems the phage is a sort of cross between a magician and an engineer, recreating and redefining life towards it's own elaborate and mysterious ends. The process it uses to accomplish this task is what the book is about and it is indeed the stuff of real life science fiction.

Brent Hightower
Copyright 2017 Brent Hightower