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Hershey-Chase experiment

In 1952, Alfred Hershey[?] and Marsha Chase[?] conducted a series of experiments that identified DNA to be the genetic material of phages and, ultimately, of all organisms.

A phage is a small virus that infects bacteria. It consists of a protein coat that encloses the genetic material. When a phage infects a bacterium, it inserts its genetic material into the bacterium, while its coat remains outside.

In a first experiment, T2 phages[?] with radioactive 32P-labeled DNA infected bacteria. In a second experiment, T2 phages with radioactive 35S-labeled protein infected bacteria. In both experiments, bacteria were separated from the phage coats by blending followed by centrifugation. In the first experiment, most radioactivity was found in the infected bacteria, while in the second experiment most radioactivity was found in the phage coat. These experiments demonstrated that DNA is the genetic material of phage and that protein does not transmit genetic information.



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