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Lab Bio: DNA History
Transcript of Lab Bio: DNA History
Back to the 20th Century
Frederick Griffith: Transformation
Avery, McCarty & MacLeod:
Hershey & Chase:
The "Blender" Experiment
Erwin Chargaff's "Rules"
Watson & Crick,
Franklin & Wilkins
The First Puzzle Solved!
1950 - 1952
By the middle of the 20th century, genetics was well established.
It was known that traits were inherited, but it was not known how that process happened.
What were genes made of? How did they work?
The discovery of DNA's role in inheritance is arguably the most significant contribution to understanding how life works.
It was not the result of any one person, but the final result of decades of investigation by many different researchers.
Observation of chromosomes during cell division demonstrates that they act in a way consistent with molecules of heredity.
Chromosomes are made of 2 ingredients:
Heritability is controlled by one of these two molecules.
Before 1940 (or so), most biologists thought that protein was probably the molecule responsible for inheritance.
No one had any idea about DNA's structure or function.
A Scottish Microbiologist
Discovered that bacteria could give other bacteria heritable traits, even after they were dead.
That's where he left it.
The two forms of Streptococcus pneumoniae
R (rough, on left) is harmless
S (smooth, on right) is pathogenic.
Refined Griffith's Experiment
Exposed R-strain Streptococcus to purified S-strain protein, and purified S-strain DNA
Only the bacteria exposed to the S-strain DNA were transformed
Not enough evidence for the haters
Conclusively demonstrated that DNA was the molecule of heredity by tagging phage DNA and protein with radioactive atoms and tracking the transmission of that radioactivity to infected bacteria
Nobel Prize: Hershey (1969)
A colorized electron micrograph showing bacteriophages infecting an E. coli cell by injecting DNA
An Austrian Biochemist
Demonstrated two major rules of DNA composition
1. All species have different amounts of the four bases in their DNA.
2. In every species:
the amount of adenine = the amount of thymine
the amount of cytosine = the amount of guanine
Why does this matter?
Two competing teams to determimne the structure of DNA
Watson and Crick used X-ray diffraction data developed by Rosalind Franklin to develop their "double helix" model of DNA
Nobel Prize: Watson, Crick & Wilkins (1962)
Photo 51: The crucial data used by Watson & Crick
The Double-Helix Model of DNA
Understanding DNA structure helps explain its role in heredity
Bases on one strand are covalently bonded to each other
Bases on opposite strands are hydrogen bonded to each other ("
Adenine = Thymine
Cytosine = Guanine
Make Sure You Can:
Discovered nucleic acids (1869)
What does DNA look like?
How does DNA work?
How was the structure and function of DNA determined?
Explain how the structure of DNA is related to its function as the information storage molecule in living systems.
Explain the contributions of all scientists discussed in this presentation to understanding DNA structure.
Describe how the historical development of scientific understanding of the structure of DNA is an example of science as a collaborative, evidentiary, and technological process.
The Helix Unwound