RESOURCES: Going Through Phages

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Science  13 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5490, pp. 227
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.227a

Next time you're laid low by strep throat or a sinus infection, take comfort in knowing that those misery-inducing bacteria may themselves fall victim to disease. In fact, bacteria-slaying viruses known as bacteriophages—and kindred viruses that attack amoebas, algae, and other single-celled microbes—may be the most diverse and numerous organisms on the planet.

That's according to The Bacteriophage Ecology Group, a site started 4 years ago by microbiologist Stephen Abedon of Ohio State University, Mansfield. Born of his frustration at the lack of cohesion among the biologists who study bacteriophage ecology and evolution, the site will encourage collaboration and help define this emerging—and sprawling—field, Abedon hopes. It spans everything from studying the role of phages in antibiotic resistance to trying to enlist them in combating human staph infections.

One major site offering is a periodic newsletter that covers topics such as the use of phages as models for human viruses. You can also track down kindred researchers from around the world or troll a 3500-paper bibliography and list of recent publications. Other features include a passel of phage-themed links and a gallery of micrographs and cartoons. Sit back and enjoy the animation showing a lunar lander-like phage injecting its DNA into a cell.

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