For decades parasites were the pariahs of science, considered too aberrant and insignificant to study. Only recently have biologists begun to appreciate that these diverse and complex organisms are the most highly evolved life forms on earth. In this compelling, gracefully written work of popular science, Carl Zimmer takes us on tour of the strange and bizarre world that parasites inhabit, and delightfully recounts the fantastic voyages of these wonders of creation.
Parasites can rewrite DNA, rewire the brain, genetically engineer viruses as weapons, and turn healthy hosts into the living dead. From a lab in California where the grisly secrets of parasitic wasps are coming to light, to remote Sudan, where the subtle horror of sleeping sickness is threatening millions of lives, PARASITE REX follows researchers in Parasitology, one of the hottest fields in biology, as they attempt to penetrate the mysteries of these omnipresent creatures who control evolution, ecosystems, and perhaps the future of the human race. It is life science at its most thrilling.