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Bacteriophage Use in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

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Abstract

Since their discovery in the early twentieth century, bacteriophages (phages) have played a central role in understanding many key principles in molecular biology. In particular, they were essential model organisms in the search for the physical nature and function of the gene, beginning with the establishment of the American Phage Working Group by Max Delbrück and extending to explication of Francis Crick’s central dogma of molecular biology through studies of RNA transcription and protein expression in phage λ. Beyond illuminating fundamental principles of molecular biology, phages have also been used extensively in biotechnology. Phage biology is a rich source of methods used in recombinant DNA technology, clinical diagnostics, and synthetic biology. Although phage biology is often criticized as passé, there are still compelling reasons to study phages. New frontiers of complexity in biology call for fresh research into phage biology that promises to yield important advances in our understanding of ecology and evolution, our ability to manipulate genetic material, and our investigations into emergent phenomena in systems biology. Here we trace the fundamental and applied discoveries enabled by the study of bacteriophage biology from the early twentieth century till today.

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Brown, N., Cox, C. (2020). Bacteriophage Use in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In: Harper, D.R., Abedon, S.T., Burrowes, B.H., McConville, M.L. (eds) Bacteriophages. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40598-8_15-1

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-40598-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-40598-8

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Biomedicine & Life SciencesReference Module Biomedical and Life Sciences