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A Virus That Steals A Bacterium's Immune System And Uses It As A Weapon

The arms race between bacteria and viruses just got a microscopic bit hotter.

The phenomenon, which was published in Nature this week, was discovered by Kimberly Seed and colleagues when they looked at bacteriophages who usually infect and kill the bacterium responsible for cholera Vibrio cholerae. When looking at samples, they noticed that the phages' genomes had elements of a particular set of genes that usually only certain kinds of bacteria have, called CRISPR-Cas, and that were recently found to be the basis of an adaptive immunity effective against phage infection.

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