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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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The Subunits of Semiconservative Replication

The Subunits of Semiconservative Replication

(p.388) Chapter Twelve The Subunits of Semiconservative Replication
Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA

Frederic Lawrence Holmes

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the immediate impact the publication of the Meselson-Stahl experiment in PNAS had on the circle of biologists already engaged with the replication of DNA, and how it extended well beyond that circle. Within the group who had participated in or followed the debate over conservative, semiconservative, and dispersive replication, it was rapidly accepted that Meselson and Stahl's experiment settled the question in favor of semiconservative replication but did not immediately confirm the Watson-Crick prediction that the molecule replicated by separation of the two nucleotide strands constituted a double helix. Meselson and Stahl themselves contributed to this ambiguity in a paper on the replication of DNA that they gave at a session titled “Replication and Recombination of Genetic Material” at the Cold Spring Harbor Symposium held in June 1958.

Keywords:   Meselson-Stahl experiment, PNAS, circle of biologists, replication of DNA, semiconservative replication, nucleotide strands, double helix

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