In 1915 Frederick Twort made the first scientific observations on bacteriophages (followed shortly after by Félix d’Herelle). In the century that has followed, phage research has revolutionized our understanding of biology.
“[the] molecular biology of higher organisms does not stand on the shoulder of giants, but on the shoulder of dwarfs like phage T4 and lambda.”
Phage and other viruses outnumber all other organic entities on our planet, with an estimated numbers at a mind-boggling 1031. To celebrate 100 years of phage research, a conference was held in San Diego in January and all the contributions were captured on the 2015 year of the Phage website. This includes a 400 page book which describes in detail 30 diverse phages, including, where on Earth they’ve been found, who their close relatives are, how their genomes are structured, and how they trick their hosts into submission. Researchers who have devoted their lives to phage also recount their experiences. You can download a free copy of the book from the website, and it’s well worth reading.