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CP81 is a virulent Campylobacter group III phage whose linear genome comprises 132,454 bp. At the nucleotide level, CP81 differs from other phages. However, a number of its structural and replication/recombination proteins revealed a relationship to the group II Campylobacter phages CP220/CPt10 and to T4-type phages. Unlike the T4-related phages, the CP81 genome does not contain conserved replication and virion modules. Instead, the respective genes are scattered throughout the phage genome. Moreover, most genes for metabolic enzymes of CP220/CPt10 are lacking in CP81. On the other hand, the CP81 genome contains nine similar genes for homing endonucleases which may be involved in the attrition of the conserved gene order for the virion core genes of T4-type phages. The phage apparently possesses an unusual modification of C or G bases. Efficient cleavage of its DNA was only achieved with restriction enzymes recognizing pure A/T sites. Uncommonly, phenol extraction leads to a significant loss of CP81 DNA from the aqueous layer, a property not yet described for other phages belonging to the T4 superfamily.