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The Search for the Genetic Material & Discovering Its Structure

Figures taken from Campbell 9th Ed.

Life’s operating instructions: DNA or protein?

Gregor Mendel (1860s): discrete units (genes)

Pisum sativum

Thomas Hunt Morgan (1900s): genes are on chromosomes

Drosophila melanogaster

The search for the genetic material

Evidence: a ‘transforming substance’ in bacteria
 

Frederick Griffith (1928) transformation

 What can be concluded based on this experiment?

Evidence: DNA is the transforming substance

Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, Maclyn McCarty (1944)
 How does this show DNA is the genetic material?

Evidence: viral DNA can program cells

Alfred Hershey, Martha Chase (1952)

 What is the significance of 35S and 32P?

Evidence: DNA diversity among species

Erwin Chargaff (1950)

humans: 30.3% E. coli: 26.0% humans: 30.3% humans: 19.9%

Chargaff’s rules

humans: 19.5%

DNA: How does it do what it does?

Store and transmit hereditary information


Watson, Crick, Wilkins, and Franklin (1953)

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acid and its significance for information transfer in living material”

 What are the two types of nucleic acids?  What are the monomers of nucleic acids?  What bond links these monomers together?

Linus Pauling had
earlier proposed 3 strands

negatively-charged sugar-phosphate backbones on the outside; hydrophobic nitrogenous bases inside

phosphodiester bond

 What is ‘nucleoside monophosphate’ synonymous to?  How are pyrimidines different from purines?  How is deoxyribose different from ribose?

 How is a 5’ end different from a 3’ end?  What does ‘complementary base pairing’ mean?