Courtesy Marisa Pedulla and Graham Hatfull.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT: electron micrograph of mycobacteriophages Barnyard (left), and Cjw1 (above). While morphologically similar, the two phages are quite distinct genomically and have fewer than 3% of their genes in common.

When high school teacher Debbie Jacobs-Sera showed up with two of her students at Graham Hatfull's door at the University of Pittsburgh, it took only minutes for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator to put them to work. Hatfull enlisted the teens in his pet project, identifying phage viruses that infect Mycobacteria, including the organism that causes tuberculosis. Hatfull's team, including Jacobs-Sera's brother, fellow HHMI investigator William Jacobs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, hit the jackpot. These students and others more than doubled the number of genetically characterized mycobacteriophages, bringing the total to 14.1 In their morphology and genetics, the novel phages proved very different from those...

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