Mark Hurst just wanted to kill some bugs.
A newly credentialed bacteriologist working for the New Zealand government in the early 2000s, his job was to invent new and exciting weapons in the war against grass grubs, the squishy, ectoplasmic beetle larvae that had long bedeviled the islands’ farmers. Fortunately, there were already multiple strains of bacteria that infected and killed these insects. Why not learn from the best?
Hurst, though, didn’t anticipate anything like what he found. Rather than a simple lethal protein, these microbes built what looked like tiny viruses. They shot these virus-like structures out at the insect’s cells, injecting them with toxins. It was bacteria armed with poison darts.
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