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Phage engineering: how advances in molecular biology and synthetic biology are being utilized to enhance the therapeutic potential of bacteriophages

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at link.springer.com and journal.hep.com.cn

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-54
Number of pages13
JournalQuantitative Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2017


The therapeutic potential of bacteriophages has been debated since their first isolation and characterisation in the early 20th century. However, a lack of consistency in application and observed efficacy during their early use meant that upon the discovery of antibiotic compounds research in the field of phage therapy quickly slowed. However, the rise of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and improvements in our abilities to modify and manipulate DNA, especially in the context of small viral genomes, has led to a recent resurgence of interest in utilising phage as antimicrobial therapeutics. Whilst many of the same issues that have historically limited the use of phages as therapeutics still exist, it is now significantly easier to modify and characterise the genomes and properties of phages in an attempt to address these issues. As such there is renewed hope that the potential benefits of phage therapy can finally be realised. In this article a number of results from the literature that have aimed to address key issues regarding the utility and efficacy of phage as antimicrobial therapeutics will be introduced and discussed, giving a general view of the recent progress in the field.

    Research areas

  • bacteriophage, phage therapy, phage engineering, synthetic biology

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