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Bacteriophage viruses

Bacteriophage viruses

M090/0096

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Credit

KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Bacteriophage viruses. Computer artwork of T- bacteriophages, or phages, about to infect a bacterium cell. Phages are viruses that infect bacteria. T-phages consist of an icosahedral (20- sided) head, which contains the genetic material (either DNA or RNA), and a thick tail with several bent tail fibres. The tail is used to inject the genetic material into the host cell to infect it. The phage then uses the bacterium's genetic machinery to replicate itself. When a sufficient number have been produced the phages exit the cell by lysis, a process that kills the cell.

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