Journal of Undergraduate Research


evolution, host range, phages


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


My project proposal included the use of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection to determine if genetic mutations will arise in Bacteriophages that would allow them to infect related strains in a species of bacteria. Bacteriophages naturally have a target host range that they can infect. Within species of bacteria, the phage has tail receptors that allow it to infect specific strains. The other strains of the bacteria will be unaffected by the phage. In phage therapy, multiple phages with varied host ranges are chosen to combat this problem. Some phages are more effective than others in killing a larger range of bacteria strains. My proposed project is to take a phage with its existing host range and, through evolution, expand its infection capabilities. To successfully change the genome of a virus, mutations must take place allowing the virus to infect new strains.

Included in

Biology Commons