A group of mutant phages stemming from the virus of B. megatherium 899a (lysogenic), growing on a sensitive B. megatherium strain (KM), have been studied with respect to their recombination reactions. All these mutants and many of their recombinations can be recognized by a characteristic plaque morphology. A similar group of phages have been isolated directly from a culture of B. megatherium 899a in this laboratory.
Previous work has shown that when two different plaque mutant phages both infect essentially all the bacteria in a culture, a characteristic per cent of recombinants is produced. This percentage depends on the two recombinants used, each pair having its own value. Hershey and coworkers (2–5) have demonstrated with coli-phage T2, that the percentages of recombination found can be handled mathematically and that they demonstrate the existence of a relationship between the mutations entirely comparable to crossover percentages as used in gene locus maps in genetics. This has been found to hold true for the phages studied in the present work.
Only one "linkage group" has been detected and all the mutants studied showed low percentages of recombination (0.8 to 7.6).
B. megatherium 899a phage and some of its mutants have been examined with an electron microscope and no differences have been detected between the different mutant strains.