Mechanisms of inter-phage conflicts

A staggering 1030 phages are estimated to exist, making them the most abundant biological entity on earth. Lurking beneath their abundance is fierce competition among phages to access the limiting bacterial host that they depend on to multiply. This evolutionary arms race represents a hotbed of genetic innovations, replete with molecular weapons and trickeries that phages use to gain an upper hand in the competition. Conflicts between phages have been known for five decades, but we still do not completely understand how phages sense and respond to their competitors. We aim to address these classical problems by applying modern genomics methods and de novo phage assembly technologies. We are also interested in identifying novel examples of conflicts between phages.


Stylized drawing of a cell and a bacteriophage