Single-Cell Studies of Phage λ: Hidden Treasures under Occam's Rug

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Studies over more than half a century have resulted in what some consider a complete narrative for the life cycle of bacteriophage λ. However, this narrative is only complete within the limited resolution offered by the traditional genetic and biochemical approaches that were used to create it. A recent series of studies performed at the single-cell and single-phage levels has revealed a wealth of previously unknown features. By pointing to many open questions, these new studies highlight the limitations of our current understanding of λ, but they also initiate the process of forming a more detailed and quantitative narrative for the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-472
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Virology
StatePublished - Sep 29 2016


  • Decision-making
  • Escherichia coli
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Lysis
  • Lysogeny
  • Noise
  • Phage lambda
  • Systems biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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