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In 1944, Oswald Avery , Colin MacLeod , and Maclyn McCarty were interested in exploring Griffith’s transforming principle further. They isolated the S strain from infected dead mice, heat-killed it, and inactivated various components of the S extract, conducting a systematic elimination study ( [link] ). They used enzymes that specifically degraded proteins, RNA, and DNA and mixed the S extract with each of these individual enzymes. Then, they tested each extract/enzyme combination’s resulting ability to transform the R strain, as observed by the diffuse growth of the S strain in culture media and confirmed visually by growth on plates. They found that when DNA was degraded, the resulting mixture was no longer able to transform the R strain bacteria, whereas no other enzymatic treatment was able to prevent transformation. This led them to conclude that DNA was the transforming principle. Despite their results, many scientists did not accept their conclusion, instead believing that there were protein contaminants within their extracts.

A diagram of Avery, MaLeod and McCarty’s experiment: Determining the identity of the hereditary material. Heat is used to kill S strain of S. pneumonia and capsule components are removed from solution. This produes a solution with DNA, RNA and proteins. This solution is then placed into 4 tubes. In the control, no enzymes are used so DNA, RNA, and proteins are all present. R cells are then added and S cells are found because transformation occurred. In the next experiment proteases degrade proteins in the sample, leaving DNA and RNA. R cells are added and S cells are found. Therefore, transformation occurred in the absence of proteins. In the next experiment ribonucleases degrade RNA in the sample, leaving DNA and proteins. R cells are added and S cells are found. Therefore, transformation occurred in the absence of RNA. In the final experiment deoxyribonucleases degrade DNA in the sample, leaving proteins and RNA. R cells are added and S cells are not found. Therefore, transformation does not occur without DNA. DNA is necessary for transformation.
Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty followed up on Griffith’s experiment and experimentally determined that the transforming principle was DNA.
  • How did Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty’s experiments show that DNA was the transforming principle first described by Griffith?

Hershey and chase’s proof of dna as genetic material

Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase performed their own experiments in 1952 and were able to provide confirmatory evidence that DNA , not protein, was the genetic material ( [link] ). A.D. Hershey, M. Chase. “Independent Functions of Viral Protein and Nucleic Acid in Growth of Bacteriophage.” Journal of General Physiology 36 no. 1 (1952):39–56. Hershey and Chase were studying a bacteriophage , a virus that infects bacteria. Viruses typically have a simple structure: a protein coat, called the capsid, and a nucleic acid core that contains the genetic material, either DNA or RNA (see Viruses ). The particular bacteriophage they were studying was the T2 bacteriophage, which infects E. coli cells. As we now know today, T2 attaches to the surface of the bacterial cell and then it injects its nucleic acids inside the cell. The phage DNA makes multiple copies of itself using the host machinery, and eventually the host cell bursts, releasing a large number of bacteriophages.

Hershey and Chase labeled the protein coat in one batch of phage using radioactive sulfur, 35 S, because sulfur is found in the amino acids methionine and cysteine but not in nucleic acids. They labeled the DNA in another batch using radioactive phosphorus, 32 P, because phosphorus is found in DNA and RNA but not typically in protein.

Each batch of phage was allowed to infect the cells separately. After infection, Hershey and Chase put each phage bacterial suspension in a blender, which detached the phage coats from the host cell, and spun down the resulting suspension in a centrifuge. The heavier bacterial cells settled down and formed a pellet, whereas the lighter phage particles stayed in the supernatant. In the tube with the protein labeled, the radioactivity remained only in the supernatant. In the tube with the DNA labeled, the radioactivity was detected only in the bacterial cells. Hershey and Chase concluded that it was the phage DNA that was injected into the cell that carried the information to produce more phage particles, thus proving that DNA, not proteins, was the source of the genetic material. As a result of their work, the scientific community more broadly accepted DNA as the molecule responsible for heredity.

Questions & Answers

describe the process of platelet formation
Joy Reply
what is parasitic helminths
Sadiya Reply
list three categories of symbiotic relationships.
mary Reply
what's the difference between microbial intoxication and infectious diseases
dranimva Reply
microbial intoxication results when a person ingests a toxin or a poisonous substance that has been produced by a microbe while infectious disease results when a pathogen colonize the body and subsequently cause disease.
weighing balance is needed in lab of microbiology for weighing?
amna Reply
It is mainly used for media preparation and product testing purpose.
thank you for your joining
what is microbiology
Shamsuddeen Reply
study of living organisms that are too small to be visible with naked eye
microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular(single cell), multicellular( cell colony), or acellular (lacking cell).
is the word Atypical or a typical bacteria. .am confused pliz help
typical bacteria
okay thank you what does that mean
atypical means that it has some characters from bacteria not all characters ...but tybical means that it has all the characters that bacteria have
thank you Zulpha
some examples please
thank you Reham
1) typical bacteria contain a cell wall whereas atypical bacteria usually do not contain a cell . 2) typical bacteria can be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative while atypical bacteria remain colorless with Gram staining. 3) cells of typical bacteria are large ,while cells of the atypical small
Example of atypical : Mycoplasma pneumoniae , chlamydophila pneumoniae , legionella
what is micro biology
Jauharah Reply
is the study of organisms which can't be viewed by our necked eyes
Because it preexisting causing secondary infection after collateral damage of normal microbota
Rafaa Reply
combinations of drugs that can't be taken together and why
Grace Reply
Antagonism: the combined action is less than that of the more effective agent when used alone). All these effects may be observed in vitro (particularly in terms of bactericidal rate) and in vivo والله اعلم
....fermentros have 1-15litre capacity
AMAR Reply
which of the following microorganisms are classified as eukaryotic?
Semugab Reply
how do I see the list?
what are the choices?
dear tell us the choices
mr semugab give us the list please
what are the new discoveries of microorganisms
Ezibon Reply
understanding of contributed to attempts to treat contain disease
james Reply
what is a bacteria
ROSE Reply
yes tell us
a bacteria is the largest living organisms on the planet Earth
oh, sure. we have also one big here nearby!
Bacteria is a large group of single-cell microorganisms. some causes infections and disease in animals and humans..
do you mean procariots?

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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