Microbes as Poisoners and Puppet Masters

I've been on something of a microbial jag recently. For my past two columns for the New York Times I've explored the creepy biochemical sophistication of bacteria.

First, I took a look at the outbreak of toxic bacteria that shut down Toledo's water supply a couple weeks ago. A lot of people don't realize it, but those microbes have been spewing out these toxins for about three billion years--for reasons that scientists are still trying to figure out.

Then I wrote about the chemicals that our own microbiome releases, and the ways they can affect our behavior. Some scientists don't think those changes are just random side effects. ...

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