Chemistry and Structure of Nucleic Acids of Bacteriophages

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Science  20 Oct 1967:
Vol. 158, Issue 3799, pp. 343-351
DOI: 10.1126/science.158.3799.343


The nucleic acids of bacteriophages are characterized by a surprising multiformity. RNA and DNA may occur, the latter in single- or double-stranded form, circular or linear, with or without breaks or single-strand ends. Terminal redundancy may exist and the populations of linear phages may be uniform or randomly permuted. A double-stranded circular DNA does not occur in extracellular bacteriophage, but is often if not always formed after infection of the bacterial host. Phage DNA may be glucosylated or methylated to a certain extent, and the glucose and methyl residues may influence the stability of the DNA inside the host.