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Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 359–362 | Cite as

What history tells us XLIII Bacteriophage: The contexts in which it was discovered

  • Michel Morange
Series

Introduction

In April 2017, the Pasteur Institute in Paris organized a ‘Centennial Celebration of Bacteriophage Research’ to commemorate the discovery of the bacteriophage by Félix d’Hérelle in 1917. Although the expression chosen –’bacteriophage research’ and not ‘bacteriophage discovery’ – emphasized the uncontroversial role that d’Hérelle played in putting the bacteriophage in the limelight, this choice might also be viewed as latter-day support of d’Hérelle’s claim of priority in the discovery of the now universally named Twort-d’Hérelle phenomenon.

This famous controversy has already been extensively studied (Duckworth 1976; Summers 1999; Prangishvili 2007), and my intention is not to add any new ‘revolutionary’ information. Rather, I simply want to emphasize the different contexts in which the observations of Frederick Twort and d’Hérelle were made.

Context is highly important in historical studies, but this word may have different meanings. It may be the place (institution) in...

Keywords

Bacteriophage biological control context immunity locust plagues 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to David Marsh for his critical reading of the manuscript, and to Patrick Forterre to have invited me to the Centennial celebration at The Pasteur Institute in April 2017.

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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs: Lettres, Sciences, Philosophie USR 3608, Ecole Normale SupérieureParis Cedex 05France

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