Evolution of Microbial Pathogens

Editors: H. Steven Seifert1, Victor J. DiRita2
Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology-Immunology Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois; 2: Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Hardcover, Electronic
Publication Year: 2006

Category: Bacterial Pathogenesis; Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

This new volume offers an up-to-date examination of the evolution of microbial pathogenesis, capitalizing on the explosion of knowledge in the field and the recent advent of microbial genome sequencing. Written by experts in the field of microbial evolution and microbial pathogenesis, is a valuable reference for laboratory directors, postdoctoral fellows, and upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

Composed of three main sections, the book provides comprehensive coverage with a dual focus on pathogenesis and methods used to study evolution. The first section emphasizes broad themes of evolution and examines the process of studying evolution. The second section provides examples of how problems that are common to various pathogens have been solved by evolution. The remaining chapters cover a selection of well-studied classes of pathogens and the evolution of their disease-causing mechanisms. Each section opens with an overview written by an investigator with broad expertise in the subject area, and individual chapters offer a list of key points to summarize the material covered.

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Microbiology Today

19 June 2013

The recent advances in techniques, especially genomics, have catalysed an explosion in our understanding of the nature of pathogens and their interactions with hosts. This book is a highly relevant and up-to-date account of the general concepts of bacterial evolution and the methods used to study it. The individual chapters are each written by experts in the field, but the book is carefully edited. I particularly liked the bullet point summaries and the overviews at the start of each section, written by independent experts. Despite the microbial title, all but one of the 17 chapters are concerned with bacteria; there is a brief overview of human fungal pathogens, but no mention of viral pathogens. This book is highly recommended to all microbiologists who are looking for insight into this fast-moving and fascinating field. It will also be very useful as a reference text for advanced undergraduates.

Society for General Microbiology: Microbiology Today

Reviewer: Colin Munn, University of Plymouth

Review Date: Unknown

Doody Enterprises

19 June 2013

At A Glance

Examines evolution of microbial pathogenesis, capitalizing on explosion of knowledge of molecular mechanisms and microbial genome sequencing; covers general concepts of microbial evolution including gene acquisition, gene loss, and concept of microbial species; presents information on broad areas of evolution of pathogenesis, including evolution of pathogenic microbes in soil, evolution of microbe-plant interactions, human specific pathogens, zoonotic infections, biofilm formation in the environment and pathogenesis, and co-evolution of pathogens and the immune system; considers evolution of pathogenic systems found in a variety of microbes or specific subsets of pathogens." 


This book focuses on the evolutionary studies of bacterial pathogens. The science of microbial evolution and identification of the origins of virulence factors has been enhanced in the last few years by the availability of newer technology. Thus, this book follows the evolutionary science from earlier studies and marries them with the recent studies that use more precise tools.


According to the editors the purpose of this book is to provide a "current understanding of virulence evolution" and is presented from various viewpoints. This book is unique in that it takes a more global perspective on pathogen evolution. During the last decade there has been incredible advances in the information about microbes and how they cause disease. Thus this unique book brings together the knowledge from numerous fields and focuses it onto microbial evolution.


This book will be useful to students and researchers learning about microbial pathogenesis. The contributing authors are well-respected researchers from around the world. Each one of these authors could have written a complete book on their research. Thus to have it compiled into a single source makes this book worthwhile.


The book is divided into three sections. This first section examines microbial evolution from a broad perspective and examines how evolution is studied. The second section presents examples of how specific pathogens have evolved pathogenicity. This section also details systems that represent ways in which to study other pathogens. The third section spotlights a few pathogens that have been well-studied. This section examines these specific examples in detail to find out how they acquired disease-causing strategies.


This is a unique perspective on the development of microbial pathogenesis. It brings together researchers from many different disciplines to examine how a pathogen evolves. It would make a great basis for a graduate level course and will become a resource for those individuals analyzing the evolutionary process of microbial diseases.

Doody Enterprises

Reviewer: Rebecca Horvat, PhD, D(ABMM) (University of Kansas Medical Center)

Review Date: Unknown

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