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#ForewordFriday: Pests and Poisons Edition

With Chasing the Red Queen, Andy Dyer offers the first book to apply the Red Queen Hypothesis to agriculture. He illustrates that when selection pressure increases, species evolve in response, creating a never-ending, perpetually-escalating competition between predator (us) and prey (bugs and weeds). The result is farmers are caught in a vicious cycle of chemical dependence, stuck using increasingly dangerous and expensive toxics to beat back progressively resistant pests.

To break the cycle, we must learn the science behind it. Dyer examines this pressing problem as a biological case study. He presents key concepts, from Darwin’s principles of natural selection to genetic variation and adaptive phenotypes. Understanding the fundamentals of ecology and biology is the first step to “playing the Red Queen,” and escaping her unwinnable race.

Read Chapter 1 from the book below, and for further reading on pests and poisons, check out Andy's blog post on the proposed use of DDT to control the Zika virus.