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In Microbiology and Virology courses, viral plaques are often presented to students as the way one can visualize viruses/bacteriophages. While students generally grasp the idea that counting plaques is essentially the same as counting viruses in their sample (assuming that one virus entering the cell is sufficient for productive infection), the process of plaque formation itself remains largely obscure. Many students fail to appreciate that viral plaques are actually a “laboratory-made” phenomenon allowing us to observe and study the growth of lytic viruses. The latter often presents a challenge for the interpretation of experimental data related to viral growth and drug discovery using plaque reduction assay. The hands-on model described here creates an opportunity for students to experience the process of viral plaque formation while engaging multiple senses and creating a lasting impression.

Original Citation

Marintcheva, B. (2012). Dynamic Model Visualizing the Process of Viral Plaque Formation. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 13(2), 186-187.

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