The New Phage Biology: From Genomics to Applications
Olivia McAuliffe, R. Paul Ross, and Gerald F. Fitzgerald
from: Bacteriophage: Genetics and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Stephen Mc Grath and Douwe van Sinderen). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2007)
Bacterial viruses, or bacteriophages, are estimated to be the most widely distributed and diverse entities in the biosphere. From initial research defining the nature of viruses, to deciphering the fundamental principles of life, to the development of the science of molecular biology, phages have been 'model organisms' for probing the basic chemistry of life. With more recent advances in technology, most notably the ability to elucidate the genome sequences of phages and their bacterial hosts, there has been a resurgence of interest in phages as more information is generated regarding their biology, ecology and diverse nature. Phage research in more recent years has revealed not only their abundance and diversity of form, but also their dramatic impact on the ecology of our planet, their influence on the evolution of microbial populations, and their potential applications. This review focuses on this new post-genomic era of phage biology, from information emerging from genomics and metagenomics approaches through to applications in agriculture, human therapy and biotechnology read more ...