Event Title

One Year With Aesir: The Discovery and Analysis of a New Bacteriophage

Faculty Advisor

Richard Alvey

Graduation Year

2023

Location

Center for Natural Sciences

Start Date

4-4-2020 2:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2020 3:00 PM

Description

Despite the abundance of viruses on Earth, there is considerable lack of information about them. Certain types of viruses are categorized as bacteriophages, due to their ability to replicate by inserting their DNA into bacterial cells. Recent efforts have been made to better understand bacteriophages and how they can be identified and grouped. In this study, we contributed to these efforts through a process called “bacteriophage hunting,” in which a bacteriophage, named Aesir, was found in soil from Carlock, IL. The bacteriophage was then purified and examined under Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis. Viruses fall into different categories of shared traits called clusters, which are used to determine information on size, behavior, and genetic makeup. With the presented data consisting of genetic comparisons, morphology, and evolutionary charts, we look at the similarities of the discovered bacteriophage Aesir and its bacteriophage relatives within the EF cluster. Cluster EF contains ten other bacteriophages, making it a relatively smaller cluster. With this cluster not being as common, comparing the other members of the EF cluster to Aesir allows for a greater understanding of bacteriophage evolution as well as its ability to travel geographically.

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Apr 4th, 2:00 PM Apr 4th, 3:00 PM

One Year With Aesir: The Discovery and Analysis of a New Bacteriophage

Center for Natural Sciences

Despite the abundance of viruses on Earth, there is considerable lack of information about them. Certain types of viruses are categorized as bacteriophages, due to their ability to replicate by inserting their DNA into bacterial cells. Recent efforts have been made to better understand bacteriophages and how they can be identified and grouped. In this study, we contributed to these efforts through a process called “bacteriophage hunting,” in which a bacteriophage, named Aesir, was found in soil from Carlock, IL. The bacteriophage was then purified and examined under Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis. Viruses fall into different categories of shared traits called clusters, which are used to determine information on size, behavior, and genetic makeup. With the presented data consisting of genetic comparisons, morphology, and evolutionary charts, we look at the similarities of the discovered bacteriophage Aesir and its bacteriophage relatives within the EF cluster. Cluster EF contains ten other bacteriophages, making it a relatively smaller cluster. With this cluster not being as common, comparing the other members of the EF cluster to Aesir allows for a greater understanding of bacteriophage evolution as well as its ability to travel geographically.