Phage Encoded Recombinase: Meditations on a Past Relationship

Phages

Photo by Dr. Graham Beards via Wikipedia

encounter

     invasion

          insertion

               integration

                    inversion

                         deletion

                              recombination

now the host wholly unrecognizable.

     so it was the way with you . . .

Added 10/07/13

For those of you unfamiliar with phages they are viruses that primarily infect bacteria. Once they have injected their genetic material into the cell they usually take it over and force it to churn out millions of new viruses, destroying the cell in the process. Sometimes, though, they can insert their genetic material into the genome of the bacteria with the help of enzymes called recombinases. Once the viral genome has integrated into the bacterial genome it can stay there and be passed along for generations, permanently altering the bacteria in ways that can be beneficial . . . or harmful. This poem was inspired by two relationships that I had -one personal and one professional, in which I ended up feeling as though the essence of who I was had been invaded and infected and in some ways corrupted by these individuals. I think that’s a theme many people can relate to.

If you want to read more about phages you can go to the Wiki page by clicking here.

If you’d like to see an animated video of phages infecting a bacteria cell you can get there by clicking here.

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