CONEYL JAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CONEYL JAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bacteriophage virus, computer illustration. A bacteriophage is a virus that infects bacteria. It attaches itself to the surface of the bacterium (lower right) using its tail fibres (long threads). It then uses its tail (tube) to inject its genetic material (coiled in its head, upper left) into the bacterium. The viral DNA then hijacks the bacterium's own cellular machinery, forcing it to produce more copies of the bacteriophage. These then erupt from the bacterial cell, killing it and releasing the new bacteriophages.
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