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Virology. 2015 May;479-480:310-30. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2015.02.010. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Bacteriophage lambda: Early pioneer and still relevant.

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Division of Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology Department, University of Utah School of Medicine, Emma Eccles Jones Medical Research Building, 15 North Medical Drive East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA; Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Molecular genetic research on bacteriophage lambda carried out during its golden age from the mid-1950s to mid-1980s was critically important in the attainment of our current understanding of the sophisticated and complex mechanisms by which the expression of genes is controlled, of DNA virus assembly and of the molecular nature of lysogeny. The development of molecular cloning techniques, ironically instigated largely by phage lambda researchers, allowed many phage workers to switch their efforts to other biological systems. Nonetheless, since that time the ongoing study of lambda and its relatives has continued to give important new insights. In this review we give some relevant early history and describe recent developments in understanding the molecular biology of lambda's life cycle.


Bacteriophage; Lambda; Lambdoid phages

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