Basics of phage genome annotation and classification – how to get started

22nd February 2021

Dr Evelien Adriaenssens shares her expertise in bacteriophage genome annotation and classification via the Africa Phage Forum Webinar

Isolating a new bacteriophage (or phage), a virus that infects bacteria, is for many students their first venture into microbiology. Once you can see that first lysis zone or plaque on a lawn of bacteria, you know you’re in for an exciting scientific journey. In this age of genomics, the discovery of a new phage opens up the opportunity to sequence its genome and marvel at its diversity. But how do we go about making sense out of the sequence data, the phage genome and how does it fit in the known virosphere?

As a Group Leader working with novel bacteriophages and as the Chair of the Bacterial Viruses Subcommittee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), I try to answer these questions on a near-daily basis. So when I was asked to present a webinar on phage genome annotation and classification for the Africa Phage Forum (, I was honoured and very happy to help early career scientists and scientists new to the phage field get started.

In the webinar, I focused on specific features of phage genomes, the decision-making process that is important to get to a well-annotated genome, and how to name and classify your phage. With more time, I would have told much more, but I hope the webinar and the slides will get everyone started.

You can watch Dr Adriaenssens’ webinar below and download the slides here [pdf]