CARLOS CLARIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CARLOS CLARIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
P1 bacteriophage. Illustration of the enterobacteria phage P1, a DNA virus that is specialized in attacking the Escherichia coli bacterium. The bacteriophage has an icosahedral head about 85 nanometres in diameter, a neck without a collar, a long tail, and a small base plate with tail fibres. As it infects a cell, the bacteriophage can either engage in lysogeny or enter a lytic cycle. In lysogeny the genome remains dormant in the cell as an autonomous plasmid (circle of DNA). In the lytic cycle the bacteriophage replicates itself many times and then bursts the bacterial cell, releasing itself into the environment.
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