Barksdale, Lane Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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- Phage infection and lysis
- Mutants and genetic recombination
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Any of the viruses that infect bacterial cells. Bacteriophages, often simply called phages, are discrete particles, with dimensions ranging from approximately 20 to 200 nanometers. A given bacterial virus can infect only one or a few related species of bacteria; these constitute the bacteriophage's host range. Bacteriophages (Fig. 1) consist of two essential components: nucleic acid, in which genetic information is encoded (this may be either ribonucleic acid, in the RNA phages, or deoxyribonucleic acid, in the DNA phages); and a protein coat (capsid), which serves as a protective shell that contains the nucleic acid and is involved in the efficiency of infection and the host range of the virus. See also: Bacteria; Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Nucleic acid; Protein; Ribonucleic acid (RNA); Virus
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