Better Living Through Chemistry? Vaccine Resistance and Illness
Vaccines effectively prevent many infectious diseases, but they also exert powerful selection pressure on microbes, and evolving vaccine resistance suggests that it may be time to alter our strategy from biological whack-a-mole to chess.
Vaccines help our adaptive immune system recognize viral invaders before they can make us feel ill, but they also represent significant selection pressure, forcing the virus to evolve or die.
Photo by Fotolia/singburi
Environmental toxicologist Emily Monosson investigates the effect our use of industrial chemicals has had on the very populations we tried to eradicate in "Unnatural Selection," including increased vaccine resistance in viruses, pesticide resistance in plants, and even genetic markers of environmental stresses in human DNA.