News From the Field
Viruses Con Bacteria Into Working for Them
January 26, 2012
MIT researchers have discovered that certain photosynthetic ocean bacteria need to beware of viruses bearing gifts. These viruses are really con artists carrying genetic material taken from their previous bacterial hosts to trick the new host into using its own machinery to activate the genes, a process never before documented in any virus-bacteria relationship. The con occurs when a grifter virus injects its DNA into a bacterium living in a phosphorus-starved region of the ocean.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
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