Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: Hershey and Chase...Sept 20, 1952

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hershey and Chase...Sept 20, 1952

60 years ago today...
I am always talking about DNA, and teachers everywhere usually start telling the story with the Hershey and Chase experiment. My favorite part of their story is that they used kitchen blenders to separate the pieces!  Martha Chase is still considered one of the pioneer women in science. 

On Sept 20, 1952, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase published a report confirming DNA holds hereditary data. Their experiment used the T2 bacteriophage, which, like other viruses, is just a crystal of DNA and protein. It can reproduce when inside a bacterium such as E. coli. When the new T2 viruses are ready to leave the host E. coli cell (and go infect others), they burst the E. coli cell open, killing it (hence the name "bacteriophage"). Hershey and Chase were seeking an answer to the question, "Is it the viral DNA or viral protein coat (capsid) that is the viral genetic code material which gets injected into the E. coli?" Their results indicated that the viral DNA, not the protein, is its genetic code material.

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