Infection by bacteriophage lambda: an evolving paradigm for cellular individuality

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since the earliest days of molecular biology, bacteriophage lambda has served to illuminate cellular function. Among its many roles, lambda infection is a paradigm for phenotypic heterogeneity among genetically identical cells. Early studies attributed this cellular individuality to random biochemical fluctuations, or ‘noise’. More recently, however, attention has turned to the role played by deterministic hidden variables in driving single-cell behavior. Here, I briefly describe how studies in lambda are driving the shift in our understanding of cellular heterogeneity, allowing us to better appreciate the precision at which cells function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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