Knowing and Naming: Phage Annotation and Nomenclature for Phage Therapy

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Bacteriophages, or phages, are viruses that infect bacteria shaping microbial communities and ecosystems. They have gained attention as potential agents against antibiotic resistance. In phage therapy, lytic phages are preferred for their bacteria killing ability, while temperate phages, which can transfer antibiotic resistance or toxin genes, are avoided. Selection relies on plaque morphology and genome sequencing. This review outlines annotating genomes, identifying critical genomic features, and assigning functional labels to protein-coding sequences. These annotations prevent the transfer of unwanted genes, such as antimicrobial resistance or toxin genes, during phage therapy. Additionally, it covers International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)-an established phage nomenclature system for simplified classification and communication. Accurate phage genome annotation and nomenclature provide insights into phage–host interactions, replication strategies, and evolution, accelerating our understanding of the diversity and evolution of phages and facilitating the development of phage-based therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S352-S359
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSupplement_5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Bacteriophages
  • Taxonomy
  • antibiotic resistance
  • genomic features
  • plaque morphology
  • protein-coding sequences


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