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Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNAA History of "The Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology"$
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Frederic Lawrence Holmes

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085402

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085402.001.0001

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Centrifugal Forces

Centrifugal Forces

(p.352) Chapter Eleven Centrifugal Forces
Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA

Frederic Lawrence Holmes

Yale University Press

This chapter elaborates on the story of how word of the spectacular experiment Matt Meselson and Frank Stahl had performed spread through the community of scientists concerned with the biological role of DNA. By this time also, scientists in other laboratories were beginning to inquire how they might apply the density gradient method to their own problems. On 27 December, for example, Salvador Luria wrote to Meselson for suggestions about how density gradient analysis could help him to separate particles of P1 transducing phage that appeared to lack part of the normal phage genome and to separate mutants of another phage that he suspected of containing “different amounts of bacterial DNA.” However, even though Stahl continued to help with the biological preparations and with the analysis of the data emanating from Meselson's centrifuge runs, he privately felt peripheral to the project.

Keywords:   experiment, scientists, biological role, DNA, density gradient method, Salvador Luria, P1 transducing phage, bacterial DNA

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