AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between lytic and lysogenic?

Posted January 26, 2023


Lytic and Lysogenic cycles refer to viral reproduction mechanisms that only occur inside a host cell. There are several significant differences between these two cycles.

Basis of differentiation




Is a type of a viral reproduction mechanism that results in the lysis of the infected cell

Is a type of viral reproduction mechanism where the viral or phage DNA is integrated into the host cell DNA 

Integration of the Viral DNA

Viral DNA does not integrate into the host DNA

Viral DNA integrates into the host DNA

Prophage stage

Prophage stage is absent

There is a prophage stage

Hydrolysis of host DNA

Host DNA is hydrolyzed 

Host DNA is not hydrolyzed 

Relation between viral DNA replication and the host’s DNA replication 

Viral DNA replication and the host’s DNA replication occur independently from each other

Viral DNA replication and the host’s DNA replication occur simultaneously

Productivity of Viral DNA

Independent replication of the viral DNA results in higher productivity of viral DNA 

Simultaneous replication of the virus and the host’s DNA results in lower productivity of viral DNA 



The lytic virus is virulent


The lysogenic virus is non virulent

Time to complete the cycle

Is completed within a short period of time

Takes a longer time to complete

Liberation of the viral particles or a progeny


Produces viral progenies since viral particles are released 

Does not produce viral progenies since viral particles are not liberated

Lysis of the Host Cell


Host cell is lysed during the release of viral particles


Host cell is not lysed 

Effect on host’s cellular mechanism

Host’s cellular mechanism completely taken over by the viral genome

Host’s cellular mechanism is only minimally disrupted by the viral genome 



Cannot follow the lysogenic cycle

Can follow the lytic cycle

Symptoms of viral infection

Manifests symptoms of viral replication

Does not manifest symptoms of viral replication

Impact on genetic recombination in the host bacterium

Does not allow genetic recombination in the host bacterium

Allows genetic recombination of the host bacterium

Additional resources

Molecular prediction of lytic vs lysogenic states for Microcystis phage: Metatranscriptomic evidence of lysogeny during large bloom events

Covidyte™ EN450

MycoLight™ Live Bacteria Fluorescence Imaging Kit