Home pageArticles - biotech and pharmacyResearchers find intestinal bacteria create phages for use...

Researchers find intestinal bacteria create phages for use as weapons

Date: 4.3.2013 

(Phys.org October 9, 2012): Researchers at the University of Texas have found that a certain type of bacteria that lives in the mammalian gut creates a virus to kill off competitors. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team says their discovery came about purely by accident.

Phages, short for bacteriophages, are viruses created by bacteria that target and destroy other bacteria. They are of great interest to scientists because if they could be controlled, they could provide perhaps the ultimate anti-bacterial agent. Unfortunately, despite a lot of research since their discovery nearly century ago, very little is known about how they function, particularly, in the human gut. In this new research, the team discovered something that had never been seen before, a strain of bacteria that create a phage for the express purpose of killing off other bacteria that are competing for the same resources...

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