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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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Crossing Fields: Chemical Bonds to Biological Mutants

Crossing Fields: Chemical Bonds to Biological Mutants

(p.116) Chapter Four Crossing Fields: Chemical Bonds to Biological Mutants
Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA

Frederic Lawrence Holmes

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Meselson's view that, in order to approach the design of the replication experiment of which he dreamed, he must first understand in detail the structure and chemistry of the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule. This was not because the success of the experiment would necessarily depend on such knowledge but because it was part of the culture of Pauling's chemistry department that one would not be taken seriously until one had mastered the structure of any molecule in which one was interested. Feeling totally ignorant of the structures and properties of the purines and pyrimidines that comprised the inner structure of the double helix, Meselson set out to acquire a basic literacy in the subject.

Keywords:   replication experiment, chemistry, deoxyribonucleic acid molecule, Pauling's chemistry department, purines, pyrimidines, inner structure, double helix

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