About Phage Science

Phages, also known as bacteriophages, are classified as a group of bacterial viruses that only infect bacterial cells and replicate within bacterial cells. Like other viruses, phages are composed of a surrounding protein capsid and a core of either DNA or RNA genetic material. During infection, phages attach to a bacterium and insert its genetic material into the cell. After that, phages usually follows one of two life cycles, lytic (virulent) or lysogenic (temperate). Lytic phages take advantage of the materials and machinery of bacterial cell to synthesize their own components and reproduce within the host bacteria. Then, they lyse the host bacterial cell and release new phage particles. Lysogenic phages incorporate their nucleic acid into the chromosome of the host cell and replicate with it as a unit without destroying the cell. Under certain conditions lysogenic phages can be induced to follow a lytic cycle.