A Race For The Double Helix

1178 words - 5 pages

The greatest discoveries do not come from a single source. It takes many different sources coming together as one, a compilation of information to lead to a significant discovery. For example, in what seemed like a race for the double helix, several different scientists had to make excellent progress in their works. all of the different discoveries related to the broad subject of dna had to be mended together in order for the final discovery of the true structure of DNA. to come about.

Frederick douglas, born in Hale, England in 1879, was a bacteriologist who made the first progressive movement in gaining knowledge related to the structure of DNA. In 1928 he reported one of the first experiments suggesting that bacteria are capable of transferring genetic information via transformation. In his experiment, formally known as Griffith’s experiment, he used two strains of Streptococcus Pneumoniae (pneumococcus) bacteria to infect mice. The two types were type III-S and type II-R. Type III-S had a protective capsule that could shield it from the immune system of the host. In the experiment, bacteria from the type III-S strain were killed with heat and then the remains were added to th II-R strain bacteria. Although neither strain alone was harmful to the mice, the combination was lethal. when looking at the bloodwork of the dead mice. Griffith found live strains of both bacteria. He concluded that type III-S transformed into type II-R. This experiment showed that traits could be transferred from one organism to another. it was one of the first experiments to suggest that DNA was the genetic code because heat denatures protein, thus ruling out the possibility of protein being the genetic code. At this time, DNA was still poorly understood and people were skeptical so Griffith was not recognized for his discovery.

In 1940, a bacteriologist and geneticist from Owosso, Michigan by the name of Alfred Hershey made significant strides in his work with bacteriophages. He observed that when two different bacteriophages have infected the same bacteria, the two viruses may exchange genetic information. Alfred Hershey received his bachelors degree in chemistry from Michigan state University and then worked for the Department of bacteriology at Washington State University. Also, in 1952, Hershey and his lab assistant Martha Chase performed an experiment in New York that led them to the conclusion that DNA, not protein, was the genetic material of life. for his discovery pertaining to the function of DNA Alfred Hershey was awarded an american nobel prize for physiology or medicine. Despite her assistance in the discovery, martha chase was not recognized with Hershey. Even though Chase was not recognized she was still an intelligent geneticist who graduated from the University of Southern California and played an important role in Hershey’s work.

In 1952, Erwin Chargaff an Austrian Biochemist discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery...

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