Farming Human Pathogens: Ecological Resilience and Evolutionary Process introduces a cutting-edge mathematical formalism based on the asymptotic limit theorems of information theory to describe how punctuated shifts in mesoscale ecosystems can entrain patterns of gene expression and organismal evolution. The authors apply the new formalism toward characterizing a number of infectious diseases that have evolved in response to the world as humans have made it. Many of the human pathogens that are emerging out from underneath epidemiological control are 'farmed' in the metaphorical sense, as the evolution of drug-resistant HIV makes clear, but also quite literally, as demonstrated by avian influenza's emergence from poultry farms in southern China. The most successful pathogens appear able to integrate selection pressures humans have imposed upon them from a variety of socioecological scales. The book also presents a related treatment of Eigen's Paradox and the RNA 'error catastrophe' that bedevils models of the origins of viruses and of biological life itself.
Farming Human Pathogens
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