Bacteriophage and lytic cycle. Animation showing a virulent bacteriophage infecting and destroying a bacterial cell in a process known as the lytic cycle. During this process, a bacteriophage (blue) attaches to a host bacterium and injects its DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, red). The baterium's genetic material (circular loop) is also shown. The cell's own processes then express the bacteriophage DNA and replicates and produces capsid and tail proteins for new bacteriophages. Numerous new bacteriophages appear and lyse (kill) the bacterial cell, causing it to break down and release the new bacteriophages that are then free to infect other bacteria.
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