Advisor - Gregory Krukonis
Ten novel bacteriophages were isolated from nine strains of Bacillus subtilis from the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. The phages were characterized ecologically and genetically. For genetic analysis, phage DNA was isolated, purified, and complete genome sequencing was performed. Bioinformatic analysis of these genomes revealed that all ten had diverse genome sizes, and were unique and previously uncharacterized viruses. However, comparison to previously sequenced bacteriophages revealed several shared genes. Ecological analysis of the phages was done by testing their ability to attack a suit of ten isolates of B. subtilis previously collected from the same area. Overall the ten bacteriophages showed a broad variety of host-ranges, from the ability to infect from one to nine strains, allowing the phages to be classified as either generalists or specialists.