Viruses are one of the most abundant entities on earth and constitute a formidable reservoir of
nearly untapped biological and genetic diversity. The last few years have propelled viruses at the front of the scene and the whole world has had to learn about them and their importance. This situation boosted a new global interest in viruses and has led to exciting developments and discoveries. Indeed, the hunt for novel viral genomes in metagenome data sets brought a massive expansion in the number of known viruses and their genomes. Specifically, new bacteriophages genomes have been identified in the human gut, in sewage water and in fresh water. In addition, new bacteriophages have been studied and reassigned, new phage genus identified.
The hunt for new bacteriophages is on-going and exploring the diversity of bacteriophages as well as characterizing them is very exciting and of great interest for many reasons. Firstly, despite the increasing knowledge of the important role of the gut microbiome on human behavior, very little has been done to uncover the role of the gut virome in human health and diseases. The large number of phage genomes present in the phage genome databases is a great resource to enable this type of investigations on a larger scale. Secondly because they can be used as means to discover new alternative ways to combat bacterial infections in a world where the post antibiotic era seems to be more of a reality rather than an alarmist prediction as the years go by. New bacteriophage species can provide new avenues to explore for novel antibiotic development as well as provide insights into mechanisms used by bacteriophages to infect bacteria. Thirdly, numerous bacterial virulence factors are actually phage encoded or present on phage inducible pathogenicity island, also of viral origin. Phage auxiliary metabolic genes can also act to influence bacterial metabolism. Bacteriophages are indeed vectors of horizontal gene transfer and as such they can contribute to the dispersion of antibiotic resistance gene clusters as well as toxins and influence bacterial lifestyles.
In short, acquiring more knowledge about the diversity of bacteriophages is an important task. With this collection, BMC Genomic Data would like to attract bacteriophages data notes. These can be newly sequences genomes, OMICS datasets or companion papers to a bigger study.
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