Viruses That May Save Humanity.
Bacteriophages or phages are a group of viruses that infect bacteria. Bacterial viruses, as these are also often called, are made up of proteins that coat an inner core of nucleic acid – either DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or RNA (ribonucleic acid). Phages also vary in structure, ranging from the simple to the more elaborate and complex. Thousands of varieties of phage exist, each of which may infect only one type or a few types of bacteria or archaea. They were discovered independently by Frederick W. Twort in Great Britain (1915) and Félix d’Hérelle in France (1917). D’Hérelle coined the term bacteriophage, meaning “bacteria eater,” to describe the agent’s bacteriocidal ability. This article discovers that bacteriophages have been cleaning up the polluted lower Ganges River, and explores what else these viruses do.
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