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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Sep;10(9):607-17. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2853. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Going viral: next-generation sequencing applied to phage populations in the human gut.

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Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.


Over the past decade, researchers have begun to characterize viral diversity using metagenomic methods. These studies have shown that viruses, the majority of which infect bacteria, are probably the most genetically diverse components of the biosphere. Here, we briefly review the incipient rise of a phage biology renaissance, which has been catalysed by advances in next-generation sequencing. We explore how work characterizing phage diversity and lifestyles in the human gut is changing our view of ourselves as supra-organisms. Finally, we discuss how a renewed appreciation of phage dynamics may yield new applications for phage therapies designed to manipulate the structure and functions of our gut microbiomes.

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