The species concept and its application to tailed phages
- Cite this article as:
- Ackermann, H.W., DuBow, M.S., Jarvis, A.W. et al. Archives of Virology (1992) 124: 69. doi:10.1007/BF01314626
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A recently proposed polythetic definition of virus species appears easily applicable to bacteriophages. Criteria for classification of tailed phages are evaluated. Morphology, DNA homology, and serology are the most important criteria for delineation of species, but no single criterion is satisfactory. Dot-blot hybridization and seroneutralization may suggest false relationships by detecting common sequences in the DNA of otherwise unrelated phages. Species of tailed phages can be defined by a combination of morphology and DNA homology or serology. A procedure for identification of novel phages is outlined. Phage names should include elements of host names.