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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 Unseen Band

The Unseen Band

(p.272) Chapter Eight The Unseen Band
Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA

Frederic Lawrence Holmes

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses several attempts made by investigators to introduce radioactive isotopes into dividing cells to study the manner in which chromosomes are organized and synthesized. Alma Howard and S. R. Pelc, for instance, incorporated 32P into dividing cells in the meristem of the English broad bean plant Vicia faba in 1950. They showed by autoradiographs that the phosphorus was concentrated in the nucleus during the resting stage and inherited by the daughter cells in successive divisions. Their resolution was not sufficient to trace the distribution of the label in the chromosomes during their replication. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, J. Herbert Taylor had already begun to study chromosome replication when he moved in 1950 from the University of Tennessee to Columbia University. He continued his investigation at the Brookhaven National Laboratory as a research collaborator, using 32P to label nucleic acids.

Keywords:   radioactive isotopes, dividing cells, chromosomes, Alma Howard, S. R. Pelc, 32P, Vicia faba, autoradiographs, J. Herbert Taylor, nucleic acids

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